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Michel Platini withdraws candidacy for FIFA presidency

(London Post)     Already suspended from football for 8 years, UEFA’s Michel Platini has formally thrown in the FIFA presidential towel. Previously, he had insisted he would fight for the position, even after his banishment.

Banned UEFA President Michel Platini told French sports daily “L’Equipe,” among other publications, that he would not seek to succeed Sepp Blatter as president of world football’s governing body.

“I withdraw my candidacy. I can no longer [go through with it]. I have neither the time, nor the means to go and see voters, to meet people, and to fight with others,” Platini told L’Equipe.

Platini was banned from football for eight years on December 21, along with FIFA President Blatter. Their suspension pertained to a payment by FIFA to Platini, made several years after Platini had worked for Blatter.

A fight against ‘injustice’

Like Blatter , Platini has appealed and repeatedly asserted his innocence. The former UEFA head is hoping to clear his name in the Court of Arbitration for Sport, but he must wait until FIFA has ruled on the appeal first.

In an interview with the Associated Press, Platini declined to call the past three months the hardest period of his life. However, he said he was still “struggling to understand what happened.”

“I’m taking this philosophically, let’s wait and see what happens,” he said. “But injustice is revolting me and I’m trying to fight it.”

Despite pressure to run from European bodies, including Germany’s DFB football association, Platini chose not to stand against Blatter in the 2015 FIFA presidential election. Blatter won this vote, even as the FBI raided the annual FIFA conference in Zurich, arresting several key functionaries.

Days later, Blatter announced that he would give up his mandate, calling a fresh vote for 2016 in which he would not run. Platini immediately put himself forward as a candidate, although doubts already existed as to whether he would be eligible to run by the time of the vote.

blc/msh (AP, Reuters)

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