Suspended UEFA president Michel Platini has withdrawn from the FIFA presidential race.
The elections are scheduled to take place on February 26 but last month the 60-year old former France international was banned from all football related activities for eight years after being found guilty of breaching the world governing body’s rules of ethics.
He said: “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. So, here we go, I withdraw from the FIFA presidential race.”
Platini and FIFA president Sepp Blatter were banned for eighth years.
The pair were shown a FIFA ethics red card for what was described as a “disloyal payment” of 1.8 million euros made to Platini in 2011.
Both men have said they will take their cases to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
With Platini now out of the running, it leaves five men looking to succeed Blatter, who has been Fifa president since 1998, and occupy arguably world sport’s most challenging job.
The five men are: Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim al-Khalifa – the president of Asian Football Confederation, Tokyo Sexwale – a 62-year old South African politician and businessman, Former FIFA vice president Prince Ali bin al-Hussein – who lost to Blatter in the May elections, UEFA general secretary and member of Fifa’s reform committee Gianni Infantino and Jerome Champagne – a former Fifa assistant general secretary and former French diplomat.