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Russia plan squad purge for World Cup

 By Ian Holyman

Platini 'hurt' by corruption allegations

Michel Platini has told L'Equipe he was hurt by allegations he helped Qatar obtain the 2022 World Cup, but said the accusations would only serve to make him "more determined."

Media reports claimed the UEFA president, 58, colluded with then-Asian Confederation president Mohammed bin Hammam to ensure Qatar saw off all other bids to win the right to host the 2022 World Cup in a vote of FIFA's Executive Committee in December 2010.

FIFA's ethics tsar Michael Garcia will deliver his report on Monday following an investigation into allegations of corruption surrounding the Gulf State's successful bid.

However, Platini believes if anyone is found guilty of wrongdoing, it will not be him.

The former France international said: "I woke up one morning and read 'Is Platini corrupt?' in all the papers, on the agency feeds and on blogs. Honestly, it hurts. I'm transparent. I said for whom I voted, and I find myself suspected of corruption. It's just ridiculous.

"That colleague, I saw him 10,000 times in 15 years. Why would I have had a secret meeting with him? I realise that behind this, there is someone, something, people who organise all that. I feel it. I don't work like that. I think about football. Others think about other things.

"I think there are a lot of interests at stake, for those who are at FIFA, for those who want to go there and for those who one day hope to be there. Undoubtedly also for those who want us to look again at the attribution of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar. I get the impression I'm someone who disturbs others, and who can disturb. It's getting too much."

The "attacks" are seen by French media as linked to Platini potentially running against Sepp Blatter for the FIFA presidency next year. The head of European football's governing body acknowledged he felt he was being targeted, but that those attempting to discredit him would not succeed.

"When I'm attacked, I become a lot stronger, more determined. But that won't influence my decision. I have said I will announce it after the World Cup, and I am sticking to that," Platini said.

"It just means that I'm strong, that I'm solid, that people are afraid of me. That strengthens me, it means that I exist. Other people aren't being called into question, they're speaking about me. But I stay true to my modus operandum. It's not because the game is tough that I'm going to change my way of playing."

When asked whether he believed Blatter was behind the campaign, Platini replied: "I'm like Saint Thomas, I only believe what I see."


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