Late last month, the Mail on Sunday reported Qatar had spent a whopping $27 billion chasing votes for the right to host the 2022 World Cup. The report alleged that $22.4 billion — 80 percent of Qatar’s expenditure — went to France, home of UEFA president and FIFA executive committee member Michel Platini. On Dec. 2, 2010, Platini registered France’s vote for Qatar to host the 2022
The connection the Mail was seemingly advancing — although it never explicitly say so (because causation is hard to prove) — is that Qatar’s payments may have influenced France’s 2022 World Cup vote. Its report specifically points to Qatari money spent on “orders for airliners from France-based Airbus; buying Paris Saint-Germain; setting up beIN SPORTS; and buying Ligue 1 broadcast rights [beIN has the rights in France].”
Without more specifically tying these deals to Platini’s vote, all we’re left with is a potentially suspicious set of transactions.
But maybe you’re in the business of making lists. Specifically, maybe you’re in the business of cataloguing interesting connections between Qatar and France after Platini’s vote. Well, you’re in luck. Here are a few more deals recently brokered between Qatar and France:
As reported by the Qatar News Agency, Qatar and France just signed a $7 billion deal for the sale of 24 fighter jets to the Qatari military. The deal was signed today, in Doha, at a meeting between French president Francois Hollande and the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani.
That, alone, isn’t particularly shocking. There’s a perfectly legitimate reason for Qatar, as a growing power in a Gulf region always fraught with tensions, to want to update its military capabilities. Maybe it’s a little surprising that Qatar went with a French aircraft manufacturer that had been struggling to sell its product. But hey, maybe it got a good deal.
But something else of note happened in that meeting.
Hollande congratulated Qatar on winning the right to host the 2022 World Cup. He also referenced the signing of a declaration of intent between the Qatari Ministry of Foreign Affairs and France’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development. The agreement is a cooperation agreement pursuant to which French companies will provide safety and security support for Qatar as they prepare to host the World Cup.
Qatar also worked with French security agencies on stadium security leading up to and during the 2015 World Men’s Handball Championship, hosted by Qatar in January. In the nations’ joint statement, Qatar stated that it will continue its relationship with the French agencies through the 2022 World Cup.
So there you have it: more fun stuff to add to your dossiers cataloguing the incredibly cozy relationship between France and Qatar after France checked the box for Qatar back in 2010. Of course, this alone doesn’t prove anything definitive, but cumulatively, between all the deals laid out, let’s just say Qatar’s relationship with the home of UEFA’s president remains … interesting.