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"Bye bye FIFA presidency": Platini pulls pin to fight ban

Soccer

Michel Platini’s dream of becoming the next FIFA president is over.

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The ousted French powerbroker said overnight that he remains determined to overturn the eight-year ban he was handed by FIFA’s ethics committee last month, but that the deadline for the February 26 election is too short and renders his candidacy impossible.

“I’m withdrawing from the race for FIFA presidency,” 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.”

Platini’s bid to succeed Blatter and take football’s top job was put on hold because of a payment he received from his former mentor back in 2011.

Blatter and Platini were banned for eight years last month for conflict of interest in the 2 million Swiss franc [$A2.86 million] payment deal that is also the subject of a criminal investigation in Switzerland.

Platini said he still hopes to clear his name at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

The 60-year-old Frenchman was not authorised to bypass FIFA’s appeal procedure, which states that he will only be able to turn to CAS once FIFA’s appeal committee will have ruled on the case.

Platini and Blatter were cleared of corruption charges in December but suspended for a series of breaches including conflict of interest.

“Injustice is revolting me and I’m trying to fight it,” he said.”

But Platini, who worked at FIFA as Blatter’s special adviser from 1998 to 2002, said he has no regret over the payment.

Without naming them, Platini asserted that “many national federations wanted me as president” and that he received about 100 letters of support as well as 50 promised votes.

“[But] it won’t happen,” he said.

“But there is no age limitation, so maybe I’ll come back in 20 years. Who knows?”

Platini’s fall from grace has been quick, spectacular and unexpected. Just four months ago, he was considered the favourite in the race.

But his campaign derailed after he was questioned on September 25 in a Swiss federal investigation of suspected criminal mismanagement at FIFA.

Platini however said he remains a strong supporter of Blatter “for many things.”

“He is a great personality. He has done many beautiful things in football,” Platini said. “He also did bad things, certainly.”

-AP

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