PARIS: Suspended UEFA president Michel Platini has succumbed to the inevitable and confirmed he is no longer pursuing his hope of standing in next month’s FIFA presidential election writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
The 60-year-old Frenchman, along with the world federations disgraced president Sepp Blatter, was banned from all football activities for eight years last month by the FIFA ethics committee.
Both men had been deemed culpable of misconduct in office over a SFr2m “disloyal payment” authorised by Blatter to Platini in 2011. Both have announced an intention to appeal but, in practical terms, Platini has run out of time.
He said: “I am withdrawing from the race for the FIFA presidency. 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.”
It is also now extremely questionable whether Platini has time to prove his innocence and reclaim his status in the game ahead of UEFA’s own likely election congress at the start of June.
The truth is that Platini chose, deliberately, to waste at least two previous opportunities to run for the leadership of world football and now he is paying the penalty for indecision and a mistaken initial loyalty to Blatter who had brought him into the world federation in the first place.
Platini, president of European football’s governing body since 2007, had submitted his candidacy for the FIFA presidential election but he and UEFA’s executive had already arranged for general secretary Gianni Infantino to stand as a ‘protective deputy’.
Platini added: “I’ve spent more time in hearing rooms than on football pitches speaking about 4-3-3 or 4-4-2 or football news. Let’s wait and see what happens. But injustice is infuriating me and I am trying to fight it.
“Maybe I’ll come back in 20 years.”
Platini has continued to insist his innocence of any wrongdoing.