Disgraced former UEFA President Michel Platini has astonishingly claimed the 1998 World Cup was fixed to increase the chances of host nation France meeting holders Brazil in the final.
Platini, currently serving a four-year ban from involvement in football after being found guilty of taking bribes from then-FIFA boss Sepp Blatter, said France v Brazil was the “dream” final, which was achieved through “trickery,” the Associated Press reports.
Former France playmaker Platini, who won the European Championships in 1984 with ‘Les Bleus,’ revealed that France’s route to the final required some chicanery. He admitted the group allocations for seeded teams were made with France meeting the South Americans in the final.
Brazil were placed in Group A, which was standard practice at the time. France were the placed in Group C, which meant if both teams – who were big favourites to claim the competition outright – won their respective groups they would not meet until the World Cup final.
France and Brazil topped their respective groups before meeting in the final at Stade de France, where two goals from Zinedine Zidane and one from Emmanuel Petit sunk the Brazilians and handed France their first-ever World Cup trophy on a 3-0 scoreline.
“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?”