Recently, T24's Yalçın Doğan wrote an article titled "World Cup in Qatar: A Black Stain" and again pointed to the allegations made regarding the world cup held in Qatar. "A World Cup where everything but football is discussed, with bribery, worker deaths, human rights violations, prohibitions on alcohol... The tournament in Qatar, which has many negative aspects, is a complete "black stain". Yalçın Doğan, who started his article, then took his readers to a lunch in 2010 at the Elysee Palace, the official residence of the French presidents. According to Doğan's claim, at the luncheon held at the Palace, at the invitation of President Nicholas Sarkozy, there were the son of the Emir of Qatar and the Prime Minister of Qatar, the Vice President of FIFA Qatar Mohammed Bin Hammam, UEFA President, the famous French football player Platini, and Sarkozy's advisor Sofie Dion. A few months after that meal, there was a meeting to decide where the UEFA 2022 World Football Championship would be held.

"That decision goes down in football history as a black mark, that is, the World Football Championship that started yesterday in Qatar!.." (source)

As Faktyoxla Lab, we investigated for our readers how true the claims of journalist Yalçın Doğan from T24 are.

First, before the championship started, Sepp Blatter, FIFA's then-president, said that choosing Qatar to host the World Cup 12 years ago was a mistake. He refers to a meeting between Nicolas Sarkozy and Michel Platini to influence key votes.

Blatter, 86, spoke in his first major interview with the Swiss newspaper group Tamedia after acquitting Platini of financial misconduct at FIFA in July following a trial in federal criminal court. "This is a very small country," Blatter said of Qatar, the smallest host in size since the 1954 tournament in Switzerland. "Football and the World Cup are too big for that."(source)

Earlier, Blatter had pointed out that the expected US victory at a meeting held by Sarkozy in Paris the week before the vote to be held on December 2, 2010 by the FIFA executive committee, had become part of FIFA's science, which was directed towards Qatar. He said that the French football legend Platini, who was the president of the European football organization UEFA and the vice-president of FIFA at the time, was invited to his official residence by the then President Sarkozy, reiterating the claim that Sarkozy put pressure on Platini.

"Thanks to the four votes of Platini and his (UEFA) team, the World Cup went to Qatar, not the USA. That's the truth," Blatter said of the 14-8 vote.

In statements to the Associated Press in 2015, Platini broadly affirmed the importance of this meeting in Paris. "Sarkozy never asked me to vote for Qatar, but I knew what would be good," Platini told an AP correspondent in Zurich seven years ago.

A different and interesting aspect of the matter is that the former FIFA boss claims that Qatar's taking the World Cup instead of the USA is related to the $14 billion worth arms deal. Sepp Blatter said the football tournament was awarded to Qatar, not the United States, after pressure from corrupt French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who wanted a significant fighter jet deal with Qatar.

In an interview with the Swiss newspaper Tages-Anzeiger, Blatter said that the FIFA Executive Committee initially wanted to award the 2018 World Cup to Russia and the 2022 World Cup to the USA.

But before the 2010 FIFA Congress, Blatter reports that Michel Platini, then-president of UEFA, the governing body of European football, contacted him and told him that the plan would no longer work.

Platini, a former French football player, allegedly told Blatter that he was invited to French President Nicolas Sarkozy's residence in Paris shortly after Sarkozy met with the Crown Prince of Qatar. Blatter claims Sarkozy told Platini: "See what you and your colleagues at UEFA can do for Qatar when the World Cup is handed down." In December 2010, the 2022 World Cup was awarded to Qatar instead of the United States due to Sarkozy's alleged lobbying activities. "But of course it was also about money," Blatter said. "Six months later, Qatar bought fighter jets from the French for $14.6 billion." (source)

Furthermore, many unpublished data collected by Mediapart, one of the world's leading media outlets, the investigation into the corruption in determining Qatar as the venue of the 2022 World Cup, focused on the special interests of former French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

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Documents at the Elysée Palace, the contents of which were disclosed by Mediapart, already show how hard Nicolas Sarkozy tried to secure strong support for the Gulf monarchy, while Michel Platini, then UEFA president and FIFA vice president, were "reluctant."

According to the news of Mediapart, Nicolas Sarkozy became prosperous thanks to Qatar as soon as he left the presidency after his defeat in the 2012 elections. Justice has set its sights on the €200m financing commitment signed by the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) in December 2012 in favor of an investment fund called Columbia that Nicolas Sarkozy wanted to set up with French businessman Stéphane Courbit.

Other confidential documents that Mediapart could refer to and access at the time and that were not part of the legal proceedings also provide additional clues. Mediapart announced on Sunday that the personal interests of former French President Nicolas Sarkozy are at the center of French justice's investigation into the awarding of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar.

The case was entrusted to two Parisian investigating judges, Marc Sommerer and Bénédicte de Perthuis, last December when the National Financial Prosecution Office (PNF) decided to open a criminal investigation after three years of preliminary research.

After leaving Élysée, Sarkozy enlisted Qatari assistance in his work and was appointed as a lawyer by the groups Arnaud Lagardère and Sébastien Bazin, who, according to documents consulted, could benefit from Sarkozy's activism in favor of the World Cup in Qatar. Mediapart is an independent French online research journal.

"Investigations are now starting to turn towards Nicolas Sarkozy himself. "And rightly so: following his departure from the Élysée in 2012, the former president personally enjoyed the support of the State of Qatar in his private affairs," Mediapart said, citing several unpublished documents it has collected in recent months.

A lawyer again, Nicolas Sarkozy also won contracts with two major French bosses suspected of taking advantage of the French presidency's mobilization in favor of awarding the World Cup to Doha.

The first French boss is Bazin, the former head of the International Football Federation's Colony fund, which sold Paris Saint-Germain Football Club (PSG) to Qatar Sports Investments - the Qatari state fund - in May 2011, six months after the vote.

Mediapart said Bazin entrusted duties to the law firm of Claude & Sarkozy when he became boss of the Accor hotel group in February 2014.

According to internal documents Mediapart referred to, the former French leader was personally "responsible" for the Accor file within the firm.

Bazin's spokesperson denied that the Accor boss had asked Sarkozy for help in selling PSG to Qatar, adding that contracts with the Claude & Sarkozy cabinet were "under normal circumstances" for secret amounts.

PSG President Nasser Al-Khelaifi declined to answer Mediapart's questions, citing "clearly false and biased allegations."

The second boss, Lagardère, hired Sarkozy in October 2012, six months after QIA became the first shareholder of the Lagardère group, as part of a legal advisory linked to another Qatari state fund, the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA).

Mediapart has revealed that some notes from the Elysee Palace show that Sarkozy has already lobbied heavily for Qatar to gain substantial support from former UEFA boss and FIFA vice-president Michel Platini, who were "reluctant" to bid for Doha.

These notes indicated that the former French football star would be persuaded at a luncheon at the Élysée in November 2010 with the current Qatari emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, just nine days before the FIFA vote.

Sarkozy's lobbying for Qatar bore fruit. After his defeat in the 2012 presidential election, his business grew thanks to Qatar.

French investigators are interested in a financing commitment of up to €200m that QIA signed in December 2012 in favor of the Columbia investment fund that Nicolas Sarkozy wanted to create together with French businessman Stéphane Courbit.

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According to Le Monde, investigators are now dealing with a 2010 contract between the Qatari sports TV chain BeIN Sports (formerly Al-Jazeera) and FIFA.

PNF received the document in 2019 after British newspaper The Sunday Times revealed details of the contract.

On November 11, 2010, BeIN Sports boss Khelaifi signed a contract with FIFA that guaranteed the Qatar-funded sports TV chain the TV rights for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups for $300 million (source)

As it turns out, more than a decade after Qatar won the right to host the tournament, investigations continue into the corruption that turned the process upside down and resulted in the FBI knocking on FIFA's doors. French prosecutors are investigating the alleged role of former French President Nicolas Sarkozy in helping Qatar win the contract, French newspaper Le Monde reported earlier this week. Qatar has always denied that it won the tender through treacherous means and continues to deny it.

As a result,

  • It is true that the former President of France Nicholas Sarkozy had a connection with the 2022 Qatar World Cup,
  • Nicholas Sarkozy also received help from Qatar in his job after leaving Élysée and, according to the documents in the press, he was appointed as a lawyer by the Arnaud Lagardère and Sébastien Bazin groups, who could benefit from Sarkozy's activism in favor of the World Cup in Qatar.
  • Lobbying for the Qatari state regarding the 2022 World Cup and other events strengthened Nicholas Sarkozy's relations with Qatari state funds.