Platini has made no secret of his support for Qatar but denies he was influenced by Sarkozy, whose advisor for sport, Sophie Dion, was also arrested along with Platini.“It was time to give them the World Cup. I am for that. It’s my conviction,” he said at the time.Claude Gueant, Sarkozy’s erstwhile chief of staff and former interior minister, was also called in for questioning Tuesday by France’s Anti-Corruption Office of the Judicial Police.The decision to award the event to Qatar ultimately led to a wider corruption probe that led to the overthrow of Blatter and Platini and the arrest of senior FIFA figures.Platini, 63, led UEFA until 2015 when he was banned from football for four years for ethics violations including receiving a two-million Swiss francs (1.8 million euros, $2 million) payment from the disgraced former head of FIFA Sepp Blatter.Qatar has been accused of buying votes in its bid to stage the World Cup and a subsequent report by US independent investigator Michael Garcia unearthed an array of suspect financial dealings, many linked to Sandro Rosell, the ex-Barcelona president who served as a consultant for Qatar.Platini, a triple Ballon d’Or winner, was expected to succeed Blatter as FIFA president in 2016 before his fall from grace. He has been battling to clear his name ever since.Share on: WhatsApp FILE PHOTO: Michel Platini via @AFPParis, France | AFP | The banned ex-UEFA chief Michel Platini was arrested Tuesday in connection with a criminal investigation into the award of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar.The French football legend elected to lead European football’s governing body in 2007 was taken into custody by French anti-corruption police investigating the awarding of the 2022 World Cup to the gas-rich Gulf state.Qatar was named to host the World Cup in a decision that triggered controversy over its suitability amid allegations of corruption that ultimately sparked FIFA’s worst ever scandal five years later.France’s Financial Crimes Prosecutors Office (PNF) opened a preliminary investigation in 2016 into allegations of corruption, conspiracy and influence peddling surrounding FIFA’s award of the World Cup to Qatar and also the 2018 tournament to Russia.According to Blatter, Qatar won hosting rights as a result of a deal with the French, derailing FIFA’s own “diplomatic arrangement” whereby hosting rights would go to Russia in 2018 and then to the United States four years later.The French investigation centres on alleged French intervention linked to Platini and former president Nicolas Sarkozy.According to the specialist magazine France Football, a “secret meeting” took place on November 23, 2010 at the Elysee Palace in Paris between Sarkozy, Qatar’s then-Prince (now Emir) Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, and Platini, at that time both UEFA president and vice-president of FIFA.Just over a week later, FIFA awarded Qatar hosting rights for the 2022 tournament.
Victor Espinoza aboard California Chrome (2) rides past the finish line during the Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park, Saturday, June 7, 2014, in Elmont, N.Y. Tonalist went on to win the race, denying California Chrome the Triple Crown victory. (AP Photo/Florida Today, Craig Rubadoux)NEW YORK (AP) — California Chrome went home to the West Coast on Sunday with a bandaged right front foot — and no Triple Crown — after bumping another horse leaving the Belmont Stakes starting gate.Steve Coburn, who co-owns California Chome, was still smarting, too.He was irked Belmont winner Tonalist didn’t run in either of the first two legs of the Triple Crown. After the race, he complained others took “the coward’s way out” by skipping the Derby and/or the Preakness.A day later, Coburn was unrepentant.“It’s not fair to these horses that are running to entertain these people in all three legs of the Triple Crown,” he said. “It’s not fair to them to have somebody just show up at the last minute and run. I may have gone off half-cocked yesterday, but that’s the way I feel.”Under Coburn’s premise, there would have been just three horses in the $1.5 million Belmont, making it unlikely the third-largest crowd of 102,199 would have shown up or that a record $19,105,877 would have been wagered on-track.California Chrome, General a Rod and Ride On Curlin were the only horses to run in the Derby, Preakness and Belmont. General a Rod finished seventh and Ride On Curlin did not finish.Art Sherman, the 77-year-old trainer of California Chrome, distanced himself from Coburn’s comments.“Horses aren’t cowards and the people aren’t cowards,” he said. “He was at the heat of the moment. Don’t forget he’s a fairly new owner. Sometimes your emotions get in front of you. He hasn’t been in the game long and hasn’t had any bad luck.”Coburn and Perry Martin named their racing operation Dumb Ass Partners, with California Chrome the lone horse in their stable. The chestnut colt has earned $3,317,800 this year and brought a six-race winning streak into the Belmont.California Chrome had smooth trips in winning the Kentucky Derby and Preakness to set up a shot at racing’s first Triple Crown in 36 years. But he had a rough trip in the 1 1/2-mile Belmont on Saturday, getting a chunk of flesh torn from his foot after bumping with Matterhorn coming out of the starting gate. California Chrome finished in a dead heat for fourth with Wicked Strong.“It was kind of scary. You come back and see a horse bleeding from the foot,” Sherman said. “He’s never had anything wrong with him. We’ve been awful fortunate.”Sherman said California Chrome has a superficial wound that should heal in two to three weeks. The colt will then rest for six to seven weeks after a tough Triple Crown campaign that involved running in three races at different tracks and distances over five weeks.His camp plans to point him toward the Breeders’ Cup this fall at Santa Anita.Sherman thought Coburn would apologize for his comments. Instead, the outspoken co-owner went even further Sunday.“It wouldn’t be fair if I played basketball with a child in a wheelchair because I got an unfair advantage,” Coburn said. “If your horse is good enough to run in the Belmont, where was he in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness? It says Triple Crown, not one out of two, one out of three or two out of three.”Sherman said, “I can’t make excuses. That’s not really what you should do in these type of races.”Frenchman Christophe Clement, who won his first Triple Crown race with Totalist, declined to comment on Coburn’s remarks.Coburn had predicted California Chrome would win the Triple Crown.“If they want to call me a sore loser, I don’t care,” he said.Horses are made eligible for the Triple Crown races in January. Owners and trainers of horses not nominated can pay a late fee of $6,000 in March to get in. The 20-horse field for the Kentucky Derby is decided by a points system, with horses earning points for running in prep races. The Preakness and Belmont have maximum fields of 14, but no points system is used.It’s common for horses to drop in and out of the Triple Crown series. In 1978, when Affirmed won the Triple Crown, the Belmont had a five-horse field. Two of the colt’s rivals did not run in the first two legs and one only ran in the Derby.In 1977, Seattle Slew won the Triple Crown. The Belmont had eight horses, and five did not run in the first two legs. One ran only in the Preakness, and one other besides Slew raced in all three legs.On Saturday, second-place finisher Commissioner was new to the Triple Crown series. Winner Tonalist wasn’t ready for the Derby, so trainer Clement prepared him for the Belmont.“California Chrome was running with tough, fresh horses that were waiting in the wings, and that’s what happens,” Sherman said. “We all know when you’re on this trail you got to have an iron horse.”The veteran trainer hopes California Chrome’s owners will keep him running next year as a 4-year-old. He credited the colt for having a lot of talent and taking his handlers on an exciting ride.“This is one of them races that we couldn’t win,” Sherman said, “but he didn’t disgrace us any.”