Football, Rugby, UFC, GAA
All free when you join eir Broadband
Michel Platini is to withdraw from the FIFA presidential race in order to fight his eight-year suspension from all football-related activities.
Platini and FIFA president Sepp Blatter have been banned from football for eight years after they were found guilty of breaches relating to a £1.35million payment in 2011. The "disloyal payment" came shortly after Platini decided to support Blatter's attempts for yet another re-election in 2011.
The Frenchman is appealing his ban, but with the election scheduled for February 26 he has confirmed he will not stand.
"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, to meet people, to fight against the others,” Platini told L’Equipe.
"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."
Platini had been the clear favourite to succeed Blatter as FIFA president until it emerged that he was under investigation by FIFA's ethics committee.
"How can one win an election when one is prevented from campaigning," he stated.
"Yet when Blatter announced his retirement, I received 150 declarations of support - 100 official letters from federations and 50 promises. All this in two days.
"Now I must follow all the procedures - the CAS [Court of Arbitration for Sport] and the [electoral] commission chaired by Domenico Scala who said that I had falsified accounts.
"I would have fought as I have always done in my life but I was not given the opportunity to compete this time around."
There are five candidates still in the running to succeed Blatter - Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim al-Khalifa, Tokyo Sexwale, Prince Ali bin al-Hussein, Gianni Infantino and Jerome Champagne.