Paris |Suspended UEFA chief Michel Platini has withdrawn from the race to become FIFA president, saying that he will concentrate on clearing his name instead.
I will not present myself for the presidency of FIFA, he told L’Equipe. “I am withdrawing my candidature. I no longer have the time nor the means to go to the voters, to meet people, to fight against the other candidates,” said Platini in reference to the January 26 deadline for nominations to succeed Sepp Blatter.
In withdrawing, I am dedicating myself to my defence. Platini and Blatter were suspended for eight years by FIFA’s ethics committee over a 2 million Swiss franc payment made to Platini in 2011 for work carried out between 1999 and 2002.
The 60-year-old Platini added that his eight-year ban has made it impossible for him to have any kind of constructive campaign to take the sport’s most powerful job. The new FIFA president will be revealed on February 26. It is a question of the calendar, but not only that. How can you win an election when you are prevented from campaigning?, he told the French sports daily in an interview to be published in full Friday.
Platini added that when Blatter decided not to run again for a post he had held since 1998, he was busily garnering support for the FIFA presidency. I had received 150 declarations of support — 100 official letters from federations and 50 promises, all in two days. Platini said he will concentrate his resources on an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) and the FIFA electoral commission which is presided over by Domenico Scala. He claimed that he had falsified accounts.
He added: I have fought like I have always fought in my life but I have not been given the opportunity to compete this time round.
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