The 8-year-banned football administrator, Michel Platini told The Associated Press 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 Feb. 26 election is too short, forcing him to give up on his dream of being the next FIFA president.
“I’m withdrawing from the race for FIFA presidency,” Platini, the suspended president of European football’s governing body UEFA, told the AP in an interview on Thursday.
“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 added.
Platini’s hopes of succeeding Sepp Blatter in soccer’s top job was put off because of a payment he received from his former Blatter back in 2011.
Moreover, both Blatter and Platini were banned for eight years, last month,for a 2 million Swiss franc ($1.35 million) payment deal that is the subject of a criminal investigation in Switzerland.
“I can’t have any regret in that story because things fell upon my head while I haven’t done anything wrong,” Platini pled in an interview in a Nyon hotel. “I’m struggling to understand what happened, unless there was a will somewhere to prevent me from bidding”, Platini responded to the accusations.
Platini’s empire collapse was quick and unexpected. Just four months ago, he was the favorite candidate in the race for the FIFA presidency, but his campaign was completely ruined after his questioning on Sept. 25 in a Swiss federal investigation of suspected criminal mismanagement at FIFA.
Platini allegedly received the bribe during February 2011, just before Blatter began campaigning for re-election against Mohamed bin Hammam of Qatar.
Hardly any FIFA officials were informed of Platini’s payment, which emerged during a wider Swiss review of the governing body’s business affairs, and appeared to include suspected money laundering in the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bidding contests.
Platini’s withdrawal from the presidential race marks the end of his former steady rise to the summit of football politics.
Despite being a core factor of Platini losing the chance on FIFA presidency, Platini said that 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. I’ve supported him, I worked with him. I sincerely wish him to be at FIFA’s congress (in February) to bid goodbye to FIFA.”