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Platini hits back over corruption claims

ESPN staff
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Michel Platini insists meetings with Mohamed bin Hammam were about the FIFA presidency © PA Photos
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UEFA president Michel Platini claims attempts are being made to tarnish his image over his support for Qatar 2022's World Cup bid.

Platini has written to the Daily Telegraph following a front page story headlined "Qatar World Cup 2022: France embroiled in corruption scandal."

The report alleges that Platini and former Asian confederation president Mohamed bin Hammam, who is from Qatar, held a secret meeting where the Frenchman was lobbied to support the 2022 World Cup bid.

But Platini insists the meetings with Bin Hammam were to try to persuade the UEFA chief to stand for the FIFA presidency - and not connected to Qatar's bid.

In his letter, Platini said: "Unfortunately, I am no longer surprised by the circulation of unfounded rumours which aim at tarnishing my image, especially in such an important time for the future of football.

"I find it astonishing that conversations with a fellow member of the FIFA executive committee could suddenly be transformed into a matter of state.

"I have obviously met with Mr Mohamed Bin Hammam on many occasions in 2010 as we were both members of the same FIFA executive committee since 2002.

"During those conversations with Mr Bin Hammam, the topic of the discussions was my potential candidature for the FIFA presidency. Mr. Bin Hammam was indeed trying to convince me to become a candidate for the 2011 FIFA presidential elections."

Platini is the only FIFA member to have made his votes for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups public - he voted for Russia and Qatar.

In his letter, the UEFA president continues: "Additionally, I wish to reiterate that I am the only member of the FIFA executive committee who publicly stated for which bid I have voted - proof of my full transparency - and that no one ever dictates terms or conditions to me."

Platini has yet to decide whether to run for the FIFA presidency in 2015, but such a move looks unlikely. Bin Hammam did challenge Sepp Blatter for the presidency in 2011 but pulled out on the eve of the election after becoming embroiled in a corruption scandal.

He was banned for life by FIFA's ethics committee in 2012 for "conflicts of interest" while AFC president.

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