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Saturday 3 December 2016

Platini withdraws his candidacy for FIFA presidency

FILE - In this May 24, 2013 file photo UEFA President Michel Platini speaks to members of the media at the end of the 37th Ordinary UEFA Congress in London. Platini told The Associated Press on Thursday Jan. 7, 2016 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 and renders his candidacy impossible. (AP Photo/Sang Tan, File)
FILE - In this May 24, 2013 file photo UEFA President Michel Platini speaks to members of the media at the end of the 37th Ordinary UEFA Congress in London. Platini told The Associated Press on Thursday Jan. 7, 2016 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 and renders his candidacy impossible. (AP Photo/Sang Tan, File)

Michel Platini has formally withdrawn his candidacy for the FIFA presidency and said he will dedicate himself to overturning his eight-year ban.

The UEFA president, banned by FIFA's ethics committee from all football-related activity for eight years over a 2million Swiss franc payment he received from FIFA president Sepp Blatter in 2011, said he had originally received 150 declarations of support when he announced he would run but had now been forced to pull out of the election on February 26 - it is also unclear whether any appeal process would have been completed by that date.

Platini told L'Equipe: "I will not present myself as president of FIFA. I withdraw my candidacy. I cannot, I do not have the time or the means to go the voters.

"By removing myself, I make the choice to dedicate myself to my defence against a dossier where there is no mention of corruption, of falsification, forgery, where there is nothing any more."

Asian football chief Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim al-Khalifa has emerged as the new presidential favourite but he faces competition from Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein of Jordan, Frenchman Jerome Champagne, South Africa's Tokyo Sexwale, and Gianni Infantino, the Swiss lawyer who for the last five years has been Platini's right-hand man as UEFA general secretary.

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