A report from the print version of The Sunday Times said that UEFA president Michel Platini allegedly accepted a Picasso painting from the Russian 2018 World Cup bid committee in exchange for Platini’s support for Russia hosting the 2018 FIFA World Cup. This was after it was reported that Platini would not be subject to investigation and sanctions by FIFA Ethics Investigator Michael Garcia.
In the CNN report of the article, Platini and Belgian FIFA Executive Committee member Michel D’Hooghe have allegedly accepted paintings from Russia. Platini “strongly denies the claims,” according to the article.
D’Hooghe took things in another approach. According to the article, D’Hooghe said that, “He believed the painting given to him, was “absolutely ugly” and he believed it had no value. He said he had not voted for the Russian bid.” I’m a little confused. D’Hooghe admitted that he received the painting. Did he not vote for Russia solely because he felt the painting was ugly? Would he have voted for Russia if it was a better looking painting?
Last week, it was reported that D’Hooghe and others were going to be investigated by Garcia due to corruption charges. In D’Hooghe’s case, his son was allegedly hired as a surgeon at a sports medicine hospital in Qatar in exchange for D’Hooghe’s support for Qatar’s 2022 World Cup bid. The story also stated that D’Hooghe accepted the painting but he determined that it had “no value.”
Back to Platini, the news that Platini accepted a painting came at an unfortunate time for Michael Garcia and the FIFA investigation. In the ESPN FC article, “It has been reported that UEFA president Michel Platini is not under investigation by Garcia and will not face any sanctions.”
This is potentially the first hiccup in Michael Garcia’s investigation on corruption in FIFA. He decided that Platini shouldn’t be under investigation or face sanctions but it came out that Platini allegedly accepted a painting. Something isn’t adding up and it’s unknown as to who is right and/or wrong. Just like all the other storylines in this twisted, real life soap opera, this is definitely a story that’s not going away anytime soon.