When the Sheikdom of Qatar was suprisingly announced as the host 'nation' for the 2022 FIFA WORLD CUP, most of us were shocked and suprised, and immediately looked for 'the culprits', those who were bought off to vote for this pin prick in the desert.
French 1998 World Cup star Zinadine Zidane admitted to receiving over $8 million, and I spoke with Serbian former World Cup coach Bora Mulitenovic of Mexico, Costa Rica, USA, China, Honduras, Iraq, Nigeria at the Qatar booth at SOCCEREX WORLD FORUM in South Africa a few years ago who told me he was going to be a 'consultant'. Other players and coaches joined the gravy train,
Most FIFA executive members refused to confirm who they voted for but UEFA President Michel Platini confirmed that he did vote for Qatar over the more obvious candidates of USA and Australia. WELL, I EXPECTED A PAY OFF !!
Recently the Qatari Foundation, Qatar Sports Investments, an arm of their government, took over at PSG, Paris Saint-Germain, the much troubled French Ligue 1 club who play at The Parc des Princes. They also are the first ever paid shirt sponsor of FC Barcelona, Champions of Europe,
QFI have announce that they have hired LAURENT PLATINI, 33 year old son of Michel on a lucrative contract. Laurent used to work as an attorney for PSG a few seasons ago, so VOILA !! we now know the pay-off, or am I being too cynical ? Qatar's AL JAZEERA TV network has also announced a E240 million rights deal for French Ligue 1.
My thoughts go back to the early 1980's when Michel Platini and his national team played magic football. In 1982 at the FIFA World Cup I watched France lose 3-1 to England in their opening group match in Bilbao, and five days later saw them beat Kuwait 4-1 in Valladolid. Alain Giresse was my all time French favourite but the whole team purred and were unlucky not to reach the final. losing to West Germany in the controversial semi-final in Seville, 5-4 on pk's after a 3-3 draw. However they became European Champions two years later on home soil. In 2016 the will again be hosts.
On May 23 1988 I was an invited guest at AS Nancy-Lorraine(Les Chardons-the Thistles) Platini's first club, prior to more fame and fortune with Saint Etienne, Juventus and France. This was his farewell match at Stade Marcel Picot in front of 35,000 fans. Franz Beckenbauer, Johann Cruyff, Johnny Rep, Lothar Mattheus, Kevin Keegan, Jean-Marie Pfaff and more were on duty. France 2 v The World 2.
THE MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT happened nine minutes from time. 'Substituting for No.10 Michel Platini is No 10. LAURENT PLATINI. He was only 9 years old !!! and played the last few minutes for the French National Team. What a magic moment that I will NEVER forget !!! The youngest international EVER.
Good news about SOCCEREX WORLD FORUM -the big show, in Johannesburg and more lately in Rio de Janeiro each November, has announce a three year agreement to move to Manchester UK for three years from November 2014. www.soccerex.com