Michel Platini
Platini arrives for hearing at Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne - Reuters/Denis Balibouse

Former Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) president Michel Platini has withdrawn his name from the list of candidates fighting out for the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) presidential elections on Feb. 26, 2016.

Platini has stated that he will dedicate his time to appeal against the ban imposed on him by the FIFA’s ethics committee and will concentrate on clearing his name.

Former FIFA president Sepp Blatter and Platini were suspended for eight years over a payment of $2.88 million (AU $4.07 million) made to Platini in 2011 for the work he did between 1999 and 2002.

Platini stated that he had received around 150 declarations of support on his decision to run for FIFA president. However, he has now been forced to pull out of the election.

The decision by the Frenchman will now clear the paths of the other five candidates who look to take over the role left by Sepp Blatter.

“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 said to the French newspaper L’Equipe.

Platini was the clear favourite to take over as the FIFA president after Blatter but his election campaign was derailed when the 2011 payment details were released last September. It showed that the Frenchman had made a verbal agreement with Blatter for the work he did as a technical adviser to the FIFA president, 13 years before.

Platini was banned for 90-days formally which restricted his power on campaigning for the election. After his eight-year ban on Dec. 21, 2015, his chances of fighting for the FIFA president ended permanently.

“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.” Platini stated.

The three-time Ballon d'Or winner went on to mention that he would have fought like every time he has done in his life but was not given the opportunity to do so, this time.

The current AFC President Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim al-Khalifa is the favourite to win the elections, however, he will face competition from Frenchman Jerôme Champagne, Jordan’s Prince Ali bin al Hussein, South Africa’s Tokyo Sexwale and the Swiss Gianni Infantino.