Platini pulls out of FIFA presidency race

Banned UEFA chief Michel Platini has announced that he’s giving up his bid to become FIFA President. Yiming Woo reports.

(REUTERS/FIFA/SWISSCOM) – The head of European soccer body UEFA, Michel Platini, has announced that he won’t be running for the FIFA presidency.

Last month, Platini was handed an eight-year ban from the game, along with outgoing FIFA president Sepp Blatter.

Both were banned over a payment of $2 million made to Platini by FIFA with Blatter’s approval in 2011, for work done a decade earlier.

The committee said the payment, made at a time when Blatter was seeking re-election, lacked transparency and presented conflicts of interest.

Both men have denied wrongdoing.

Speaking to French sports daily L’Equipe, Platini says he’s withdrawing now to fully focus on the defence for his case.

Platini was initially seen as the favourite to replace Blatter in the February election.

Both men are engulfed by the worst corruption scandal in FIFA’s history, as the sport faces criminal investigations in Switzerland and the United States.

Forty-one soccer officials and sports entities have been indicted on corruption-related charges.

Five candidates from around the world, none of them clear favourites, will take part in the election for a chance at the job of rebuilding FIFA.