Michel Platini has announced he will be stepping down from FIFA's presidential election race on Thursday following his suspension from the position of UEFA president.
Rob Harris of the Associated Press broke the news:
Rob Harris @RobHarris
BREAKING @AP_Sports: Suspended UEFA president Michel Platini tells The Associated Press he is withdrawing from FIFA presidential election .1/7/2016, 6:32:31 PM
The Frenchman was banned from all footballing activity in December by FIFA's ethics committee. Per AP's Samuel Petrequin, Platini denies any wrongdoing and is still intent on fighting his ban. But with the February 26 deadline looming, he accepts his candidacy is "impossible" at this time and will no longer be in the running.
According to ESPN, he said:
I'm withdrawing from the race for 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.
I've spent more time in hearing rooms than on football pitches speaking about 4-3-3 or 4-4-2 or football news. I'm taking this philosophically, let's wait and see what happens. But injustice is revolting me and I'm trying to fight it.
The 60-year-old did not rule out the possibility of renewing his candidacy in the future, however: "I had 150 associations thinking that I'm the right person to solve FIFA's problems. It won't happen. But there is no age limitation, so maybe I'll come back in 20 years. Who knows?"
Platini had been pushing to replace incumbent FIFA president Sepp Blatter—also banned for the same length of time—in the upcoming elections.
The pair were removed from their respective offices last month following an investigation into a payment of £1.3 million Blatter made to Platini in 2011, supposedly for work the Frenchman did between 1998 and 2002.
Blatter is also determined to appeal the decision.