FIFA Election 2016: Michel Platini Withdraws from Presidential Race
Michel Platini has announced he will not stand in the FIFA presidential election in February.
The 60-year-old suspended UEFA president, along with FIFA president Sepp Blatter, has been banned from soccer-related activities for eight years by world football’s governing body.
Michel Platini and Sepp Blatter were found guilty of breaches surrounding a 2 million euro “disloyal payment” made to Platini in 2011.
The two men are appealing against their bans, but Michel Platini says the timing of the February 26 election means he cannot run.
“I’m withdrawing from the race for the FIFA presidency,” Michel Platini told the Associated Press.
“The timing is not good for me. I don’t have the means to fight on equal terms with the other candidates.
“I have not been given the chance to play the game. Bye bye FIFA, bye bye FIFA presidency.”
Michel Platini, president of European soccer’s governing body since 2007, had submitted his candidacy for the FIFA presidential election but could not stand while suspended.
He and Sepp Blatter, 79, plan to take their cases to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
“I’ve spent more time in hearing rooms than on football pitches speaking about 4-3-3 or 4-4-2 or football news,” added Michel Platini.
“I’m taking this philosophically. Let’s wait and see what happens. But injustice is revolting me and I’m trying to fight it.”
Michel Platini and Sepp Blatter claimed the payment was honoring an agreement made in 1998 for work carried out between 1998 and 2002, when Platini worked as a technical adviser for Blatter.
FIFA’s ethics committee said there was “not sufficient evidence” to establish the payment was a bribe, but both men demonstrated an “abusive execution” of their positions.
“I can’t have any regret in that story because things fell upon my head while I haven’t done anything wrong,” added Michel Platini.
“I’m struggling to understand what happened, unless there was a will somewhere to prevent me from bidding.”
There are five candidates to succeed Sepp Blatter, who has been FIFA president since 1998:
- Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim al-Khalifa – 50, Bahrain, president of Asian Football Confederation;
- Tokyo Sexwale – 62, South Africa, politician, businessman and former political prisoner;
- Prince Ali bin al-Hussein – 40, Jordan, a former FIFA vice-president and 2015 FIFA presidential candidate;
- Gianni Infantino – 45, Switzerland, UEFA general secretary and a member of FIFA’s reform committee;
- Jerome Champagne – 57, France, a former FIFA assistant general secretary and former French diplomat.
Voting will take place by secret ballot, with all FIFA’s 209 member states having a vote each.