Michael Platini pulls out of FIFA race
Suspended UEFA chief withdraws from FIFA presidency race, vows to clear his name
Paris: Suspended UEFA chief Michel Platini vowed to clear his name of sleaze allegations and slammed outgoing FIFA president Sepp Blatter as he pulled out of the race to lead football’s world body.
Platini told French sports newspaper L’Equipe that he would concentrate on fighting his eight-year ban from football, as he abandoned his bid to contest the FIFA election on February 26.
"I will not present myself for the presidency of FIFA. I am withdrawing my candidature," he said, in an interview to be published in full yesterday.
"I no longer have the time nor the means to go to the voters, to meet people, to fight against the other candidates. 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 payment made to Platini in 2011 for work carried out between 1999 and 2002.
The 60-year-old Platini said his ban has made it impossible for him to put together a campaign to take on the sport’s most powerful job.
"It is a question of the calendar, but not only that. How can you win an election when you are prevented from campaigning?" he said.
Blame is on Blatter
Platini laid the blame for his plight squarely at the door of Blatter, 79, claiming that the veteran Swiss wanted his 'scalp'. "Everything started because of Blatter, who wanted my head, who did not want me to go to (lead) FIFA," Platini was quoted as saying. "He said often that I would be his final scalp, but he fell at the same time as me."