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Platini will not stand in Fifa election

Suspended Uefa president Michel Platini says he will not stand in the Fifa presidential election next month.

Platini, along with Fifa president Sepp Blatter, has been banned from football-related activities for eight years by world football's governing body.

Both men were found guilty of breaches surrounding a £1.3m ($2m) "disloyal payment" made to Platini in 2011.

 

They are appealing against their bans, but Platini says the timing of the 26 February election means he cannot run.

"I'm withdrawing from the race for the Fifa presidency," the 60-year-old Frenchman 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."


'Injustice is revolting me'

Platini, president of European football's governing body since 2007, had submitted his candidacy for the Fifa presidential election but could not stand while suspended.

He and Blatter, 79, plan to take their cases to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

"I've spent more time in hearing rooms than on football pitches speaking about 4-3-3 or 4-4-2 or football news," added Platini.

"I'm taking this philosophically. Let's wait and see what happens. But injustice is revolting me and I'm trying to fight it."

Platini and Blatter claimed the payment was honouring an agreement made in 1998 for work carried out between 1998 and 2002, when Platini worked as a technical adviser for Blatter.

Fifa's ethics committee said there was "not sufficient evidence" to establish the payment was a bribe, but both men demonstrated an "abusive execution" of their positions.

"I can't have any regret in that story because things fell upon my head while I haven't done anything wrong," added Platini.

"I'm struggling to understand what happened, unless there was a will somewhere to prevent me from bidding."


'Maybe I'll come back in 20 years'

The English Football Association had previously backed Platini for the Fifa presidency, but suspended its support in October pending the outcome of the ethics inquiry.

FA chairman Greg Dyke said recently the organisation had yet to decide who to now support.

"I had 150 associations thinking that I'm the right person to solve Fifa problems," said Platini.

"It won't happen. But there is no age limitation, so maybe I'll come back in 20 years. Who knows?"


Who will be the next Fifa boss?

There are five candidates to succeed Blatter, who has been Fifa president since 1998:

Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim al-Khalifa - 50, Bahrain, president of Asian Football Confederation;

Tokyo Sexwale - 62, South Africa, politician, businessman and former political prisoner;

Prince Ali bin al-Hussein - 40, Jordan, a former Fifa vice-president and 2015 Fifa presidential candidate;

Gianni Infantino - 45, Switzerland, Uefa general secretary and a member of Fifa's reform committee;

Jerome Champagne - 57, France, a former Fifa assistant general secretary and former French diplomat.

Voting will take place by secret ballot, with all Fifa's 209 member states having a vote each.