Michel Platini has suggested the draw for the 1998 FIFA World Cup was manufactured to enable hosts France to play defending champions Brazil in the final.
Three-time Ballon d’Or winner Platini was joint-head of the organising committee for the tournament, held in France for the second time as they chased their first title.
Zinedine Zidane ultimately inspired Les Bleus to victory in the final, defeating Brazil 3-0 in a showdown that Platini now suggests was planned from the outset.
The group stage draw ensured the sides could not meet before the Stade de France showpiece as long as they topped their groups, setting up a “dream” clash.
“When we organised the schedule, we used a little trickery,” he told France Bleu. “If we finished first in the group [Group C] and Brazil finished first [in Group A], we could not meet before the final.
“We did not spend six boring years organising the World Cup to not have some little shenanigans. Do you think that others have not done it for their World Cup?
“France versus Brazil in the final, that was the dream for everyone.”
#OnThisDay in 1998
— FIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) July 12, 2017
Platini went on to become UEFA president but, in 2015, was banned from football for six years, later reduced to four, following an investigation by Swiss authorities.
This investigation focused on a “disloyal payment” of £1.3million made to Platini in 2011 that had “no legal basis”.
FIFA is yet to respond to requests to pass comment on Platini’s claims regarding the 1998 World Cup draw.
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