Graft Scandal: Platini quits FIFA Presidential Race

epa05060102 UEFA president Michel Platini (C) leaves after a hearing at the international Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne, Switzerland, 08 December 2015. European football chief Michel Platini appealed against a provisional 90-day ban which is keeping him out of the presidential race for the sport's scandal-plagued governing body FIFA.  EPA/LAURENT GILLIERON

epa05060102 UEFA president Michel Platini (C) leaves after a hearing at the international Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne, Switzerland, 08 December 2015. European football chief Michel Platini appealed against a provisional 90-day ban which is keeping him out of the presidential race for the sport’s scandal-plagued governing body FIFA. EPA/LAURENT GILLIERON

Banned UEFA President, Michel Platini has pulled out of the FIFA Presidential race in order to devote his energy to the legal battle to upturn his eight years ban from football.

“I am no longer putting myself forward to be president of Fifa, I have withdrawn my candidacy”, the embattled UEFA boss disclosed in an interview with French sports newspaper- L’Equipe.

“I cannot do it, I do not have the time to see voters, meet people, to fight with the others. By removing myself, I have made the choice to dedicate myself to my defence,” Platini explained.

The election to replace Blatter – who is also serving an eight-year ban – at the head of the game’s governing body is scheduled for February 26and currently has only five qualified contestants. Platini has figured out that even if he manage to upturn his ban, he may not garner enough support to win the poll.

“There is a timing issue but it’s not just that. How can one win an election when you are unable to campaign?” Platini queried.

The French football legend cum administrator, had positioned himself as the right candidate to succeed outgoing FIFA President, Sepp Blatter but his aspiration had suffered stillbirth since he got caught in the web of corruption scandal rocking the world’s football governing institution.

The last straw was an eight-year ban from all football-related activities handed to him alongside Blatter by the governing body’s ethics committee.

According to reports from the Platini camp, the former French captain will appeal the sanction handed down by Fifa’s ethics committee over an alleged “disloyal payment” made by Sepp Blatter to the Frenchman in 2011.

Platini is reportedly warming up to take his case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport but has been told by Fifa that he must go through their own appeals committee first.

By Olisemeka Obeche

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