“Suspicious behavior cannot be considered as an act of corruption and cannot question the belonging to Qatar”

Thursday, November 17 and Friday, November 18, The world devotes two days to discussions regarding the organization of the 2022 World Championship (November 20-December 18). Our correspondent Remy Dupre during Thursday’s conversation, he answered questions about corruption allegations surrounding the awarding of the 2010 World Cup to Qatar and the Emirate’s sports diplomacy more broadly.

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Stephane Paf As for the suspicions of corruption during the vote on the attribution of this trophy (14 votes against Qatar, eight against the USA): where are the investigations of the various financial prosecutors?

Remy Dupre – A US judicial investigation found that three South American FIFA voters received bribes in 2020, according to a Brooklyn prosecutor’s indictment. “In exchange for voting in favor of Qatar”.

It was opened in March 2015 by the General Prosecutor’s Office of the Swiss Confederation in 2014 based on a complaint by FIFA. Seven years later, no indictment has been announced.

In France, the National Financial Prosecutor’s Office (PNF) conducted a preliminary investigation from 2016 to 2019. Since 2019, two investigating judges have been conducting a judicial investigation into the controversial awarding of the World Cup to Qatar. To date, no indictments have been filed.

Ilyan It seems that the assignment of CM to Qatar was one of the conditions for taking over PSG in the context of the Bazin-Sarkozy-Platini issue. Mr. Sarkozy is the then president of the republic, doesn’t that imply the direct responsibility of France?

The alleged roles of the French government and Nicolas Sarkozy are at the center of a judicial investigation launched in 2019 by the National Financial Prosecutor. The judges suspect a corrupt pact was built around the 2011 takeover of Paris Saint-Germain by Qatar Sports Investments, a possible emirate ally, after French backing and Michel Platini’s vote in favor of Qatar.

Confirmation of the corruption allegations will have no impact on the World Cup, but it will further cast a shadow over the 2022 edition and further tarnish the reputation of FIFA, the body that awarded the tournament to the emirate. .

Alain B Obviously, the terms of the attribute are unclear. When will we know what happened?

For several years, legal investigations have been opened in several countries (France, Switzerland, USA). The “Qatargate” file expands and calls for the establishment of international mutual legal assistance. As a result, research is taking a long time, and we will probably have to wait a few more years before we can recover all the pieces of this amazing puzzle.

Baby Do we have any idea what the great defenders of the World Cup in Qatar are touching? I am thinking of Mr. Zidane in particular.

Zinedine Zidane has indeed played a role as an ambassador for Qatar’s candidacy in awarding the 2022 World Cup. In 2010, several French media reported that “Zizou” will receive 11 million euros in this campaign. Moreover, according to the data world, Zinedine Zidane’s support for Qatar’s candidacy was part of the language used by Nicolas Sarkozy before a famous dinner at the Elysee on 23 November 2010 with the current emir of Qatar and Michel Platini. This dinner is currently the basis of the investigation conducted by the PNF.

Mr. London What will be the direct consequences of this World Cup if it is proven that there is corruption in awarding Qatar?

If the facts of corruption were discovered by chance, it would have no consequences for the tournament. In 2014, a FIFA investigative report concluded that if questionable behavior had been reported, it could not have been classified as acts of corruption and called into question the awarding of the World Cup to Qatar. The emirate was later officially cleared by FIFA. Since then, in 2020, despite the remarkable elements collected by the justice system, especially in the United States, the latter has never had the will to question this attribution.

Also read: The article is reserved for our subscribers The 2022 World Cup in Qatar: a matter of conscience for football fans

Godfrey Is the World Cup in Qatar an exception, or are other editions questionable? Wasn’t it because of the culture within FIFA that Qatar had no choice but to join?

Indeed, Qatar was heavily criticized after the election for suspicions of corruption, dismissals, financial lobbying by the emirate before the election, but we must not forget that these practices were part of the FIFA system at the time. endemic corruption. For a long time, in order to ensure the votes of the members of the executive committee of FIFA, the candidate countries had to benevolent and grease the feet of these authoritative figures of world football.

Before the 2018 and 2022 World Cups were awarded to Russia and Qatar respectively in 2010, other editions of the tournament were marred by suspicions of corruption and were the subject of legal investigations.

The awarding of the 2006 World Cup to Germany was the subject of legal proceedings in Switzerland and Germany. American justice is investigating the bribes paid during the awarding of the 1998 and 2010 World Cups.

Francis Ier Speaking about the World Cup, Mr. Macron says that sports cannot be politicized. Isn’t it too political to attribute this World Cup to Qatar? Especially with the very noticeable interventions of President Sarkozy in favor of Qatar…

You are right. The World Cup in Qatar is a perfect reflection of the extreme politicization of international sport. For the French side, it is interesting to what extent Mr. Sarkozy’s government was interested in this question and how much it supported Qatar’s candidacy before the election.

Amateur How do you explain that after years of investigations, no indictments have been brought in the French file?

Procedures for awarding the World Cup to Qatar take time. At this stage, no indictment has been issued in France in the case, but several hearings have been held, notably for Accor CEO Sébastien Bazin, who is close to Nicolas Sarkozy, and his former representative in France as “free suspects”. Colony Capital and Michel’s son Laurent Platini, who owned PSG before it was sold to QSI.

choket What is the current fate of Michel Platini in these various procedures?

After several years of investigation in Switzerland, Michel Platini was cleared in July of other charges by the Federal Criminal Court, as was former FIFA president Sepp Blatter. “fraud” In 2011, Mr Blatter allegedly wrongfully paid 2 million Swiss francs to the Blues’ former number 10. After that, the prosecution filed an appeal and a new trial will be held in Switzerland.

In France, Michel Platini is one of the protagonists of the investigation opened by the National Financial Prosecutor’s Office in 2019 regarding the awarding of the World Cup to Qatar. He was questioned in police custody in 2019. He has not been charged at this stage.

Mhe candy Despite the widespread corruption, we experience total impunity at the highest level of the relevant authorities, with no significant convictions being announced as far as I know. In this context, does the government have any authority over the control of the government, and if so, why does it not react?

You are right, no convictions have been announced in the context “Qatar Gate”. In general, national governments do not have the right to interfere in the affairs of FIFA or national federations. However, with the 2015 anti-corruption raid on FIFA led by American justice that brought down the “Blatter system”, we saw that judicial institutions can have real pressure on an institution like FIFA. , then. several years of research. In 2015, FIFA faced the risk of being considered a criminal organization in the eyes of American justice, and finally achieved the more enviable status of a victim and was able to file a civil lawsuit. The legal tornado also had major political ramifications within FIFA.

egg Which FIFA executives were sanctioned/expelled after these first suspicions of corruption? Have new rules been adopted for the selection of countries at the institution level?

We know that among the twenty-four members of the FIFA Executive Committee who were affected by the 2010 vote to award the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, the majority have either been suspended for disciplinary action, faced criminal charges or suspected of corruption. .

At the start of Sepp Blatter’s fourth term, FIFA changed the way it awards the World Cup in 2011-2012, which has been plagued by corruption allegations. Since then, the 211 representatives (congress) of FIFA member countries, no longer members of the executive committee, choose the host country for the World Cup. In 2018, the FIFA Congress selected the USA, Canada and Mexico as the host countries for the 2026 World Cup.

Hadrian Was not the awarding of the 1998 World Cup to France the subject of suspicions of corruption or favoritism?

It was Morocco that was the object of direct corruption suspicions for the awarding of the 1998 World Cup. These suspicions were supported by American justice in 2015.

Married I remember the court case with Michel Platini and Sepp Blatter over the payment story. Does this work have anything to do with the Head Office in Qatar? It is interesting because Sepp Blatter today speaks openly against the Prime Minister’s attribution to Qatar in the past. But he didn’t participate?

In Switzerland, the case of 2 million Swiss francs paid to Michel Platini by Sepp Blatter in 2011 was not related to the awarding of the World Cup to Qatar by the Swiss prosecutor’s office. In France, the PNF was concerned about a possible link between this 2011 payment and the 2 December 2010 vote.

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As for Sepp Blatter, who for several years has opposed and expressed regret over the separation of Qatar, we must not forget that the federal prosecutor is interested in the bonus received by Mr. Blatter in December 2010. voting time. As for the PNF, it is interested in the television rights agreement signed in November 2010 between the Qatari channel Al Jazeera and FIFA and Sepp Blatter and his French general secretary Jerome Valcke. This contract contained a special clause in which a $100 million bonus was to be paid to FIFA by Al Jazeera if Qatar won the World Cup voting.

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