Paris: UEFA president Michel Platini on Tuesday attacked a British newspaper for seeking to "tarnish" his reputation by drawing him into corruption claims against the Qatar World Cup bid.
"I'm no longer astonished by the spreading of unfounded rumours aimed at tarnishing my image at an important moment for the future of football. Nothing surprises me any longer," the European football boss responded.
The Daily Telegraph alleged that the French football legend had held "a secret meeting" with Mohamed Bin Hammam, the controversial Qatari accused of making slush fund payments to secure support for Qatar's 2022 campaign.
The paper said Platini, who may challenge Sepp Blatter as boss of world football's ruling body FIFA next year, held private talks with Bin Hammam "shortly before FIFA awarded the 2022 World Cup to Qatar".
It said the disgraced former FIFA vice-president "personally lobbied Mr Platini to support the emirate's bid".
Platini accepted that he had met Bin Hammam. "I find it incredible that talks with a FIFA executive committee member colleague at the time can be transformed into a state conspiracy. "I certainly met Mr Mohamed Bin Hammam several times in 2010 as we were both executive committee members since 2002."