Disgraced former UEFA president Michel Platini has made the stunning admission that the draw for the 1998 World Cup was fixed!
Platini, presently serving a four-year ban from the game after being found guilty of receiving a ‘disloyal payment’ from former Fifa boss Sepp Blatter, said claimed “a little trickery” was used to increase the chances of a dream final between hosts France and defending champions Brazil.
The organisers’ dream came true as Zinedine Zidane inspired the hosts to the trophy with a 3-0 spanking of Brazil in the final.
Platini, a co-president of the organising committee at France 98, admitted the group allocations for seeded teams were made with an eye on a “dream” final.
Brazil were placed in Group A, standard practice at the time for the defending champions, with France then allocated to Group C.
It meant that if both teams won their groups, they could not meet before the final.
“France-Brazil in the final, it was the dream of everyone,” Platini told radio station France Bleu Sport in an interview to be broadcast in full on Sunday.
The 62-year-old was laughing as he added: “There was a little trickery.
“We did not spend six years organising the World Cup to not do some little shenanigans. Do you think other World Cup hosts did not?”
While teams had been allocated to specific groups at previous tournaments, it had typically been to keep countries from the same confederation separate.
But Platini and the French had other, less altruistic ideas… And it paid off!