Michel Platini has recently confirmed Euro 2020 will be played in multiple cities across Europe rather than in one country and reaffirmed his opposition to goal-line technology. He is not a man concerned with endearing himself to supporters, but away from his image the Uefa president's role is arguably a conflict of interest after Málaga and Paris Saint-Germain qualified for the Champions League knockout stage.
In 2010 Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser completed his takeover of Primera Liga side Málaga. Sheikh Abdullah is from the Qatari ruling family and a distant relative of Qatar's current ruler Sheikh Hamad. In 2011 Qatar Sports Investments bought Ligue 1 PSG. While it is unclear whether QSI share personal investments with the country's royal family, essentially both PSG and Málaga may both be owned by the Qatari royal family, with the Parisiens owned by an investment fund and the Primera Liga team bought "personally". Both PSG and Málaga qualified as group winners and subsequently cannot face each other until the quarter-finals. FC Barcelona, another group stage winner, announced an agreement with QSI in November Qatar Airways will appear on the club shirt from the 2013-2014 season.
Earlier this season, the BBC World Service asked Platini whether his son's employment by a Qatari company could prompt favouritism towards PSG. QSI recruited Laurent Platini for a role which will deal more generally of European interests in QSI rather than with PSG, and his father predictably said his stance would not be softened.
So will Michel, the brainchild and staunch advocate of financial fair play, take measures against PSG mimicking Manchester City's attempts to break even with sponsorships which are "indirect inputs". City, owned by the Abu Dhabi United Group, changed the name of their ground from the City of Manchester Stadium to the Etihad Stadium in a £120m deal.
In September it was revealed PSG were in talks over a €100m Qatari sponsorship. Around the same time it was confirmed Qatar would invest millions of euros in Paris banlieues, a move some critics claimed was an admission of defeat and granted too much influence to the Gulf state. Far-right leader Marine le Pen, who said Qatar was only investing in immigrant-heavy suburbs to spread Islamic ideas among Muslim youths.
"They are investing massively in the suburbs because of the large proportion of Muslims who live there," Le Pen told RTL radio. "It's suspicious because we're letting a foreign country cherry-pick its investments based on the religion of this or that segment of the population."
The modernisation will likely be completed in time for the Euro 2016 finals France is hosting, which Platini will oversee unless the heir apparent to Sepp Blatter's Fifa throne makes the ascension in 2015.
And for all Platini's financial fair play preaching, fans' champion and opponent of big businesses, he voted for Qatar to host the 2022 World Cup.Suggest a correction