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An old image of former football greats Diego Maradona and Michel Platini posing with Brazilian legend Pelé before a game has been shared thousands of times on social media, claiming that Maradona, who had a history of drug addiction, wore a jersey with a anti-drug message, while Platini, accused of receiving bribes, wore a swimsuit condemning corruption. The claim is partly false: Although Platini came under scrutiny for his financial dealings as a football administrator, the message on his jersey, as well as that of Maradona, only spoke against drugs, not corruption.
“In 1986, Maradona wore a shirt written ‘No to drugs’ and Platini ‘No to corruption'”, we read Facebook post published next to the image. “Years later, Maradona was admitted for drug use and Platini was arrested for corruption. The level of hypocrisy is high (sic) ”.
While some people have commented on the alleged irony, others have correctly questioned the claim regarding the message displayed on Platini’s soccer jersey.
Maradona’s shirt says “No Drug” on the front, while Platini’s says “Drogue No!”, A French reference to “No Drugs!”. There is no reference to corruption.
AFP fact check demystified the same statement in French in 2019.
A reverse Google image search led to several photos from 1988, including one on the AS Nancy Lorraine, French football club where Platini signed his first professional contract.
The event was the occasion of Platini’s jubilee at the Stade de Nancy in France, a farewell organized for the former French captain to celebrate the end of his professional football career.
Also, this game took place on May 23, 1988, and not in 1986 as it is claimed.
A search for images on Google revealed that there are similar versions of the photo online. Some are cropped and others taken from different angles, but they all have one thing in common: the message on Platini’s jersey denounces drugs, not corruption.
Further findings on the search engine led to a similar but broader shot of the same scene in the archives from the American news agency Associated Press. It was taken on May 23, 1988, according to photographer Lionel Cironneau.
“Soccer stars Argentina’s Diego Maradona, left, Brazilian Pelé, center, and Frenchman Michel Platini pose and shake hands during Platini’s jubilee at the stadium in Nancy, eastern France” , can we read in the caption of the photo.
AFP also documented the scene at the Nancy stadium, which shows the inscriptions on the jerseys of the two football legends.
Charges of corruption against Platini
In 2015, Platini, who headed the governing body of European football from 2007 to 2015, was suspended sport for eight years, along with his former FIFA counterpart Sepp Blatter, over a $ 2 million payment Platini received from world football’s governing body.
Both men denied any wrongdoing in an appeal against the suspension, which resulted in the suspension being reduced to six years by the FIFA appeal committee.
A further reduction of two years was then granted by the Court of Arbitration for Sport. But the legal battles ended Blatter as FIFA president and blocked Platini’s plans to succeed him.
In 2019, Platini was questioned but not charged in another investigation by French authorities on corruption allegations linked to FIFA’s decision to host the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
Maradona died in 2020 at the age of 60 after struggling for decades with cocaine addiction, AFP says reported.