Ousted French soccer official withdraws from FIFA election

NYON, Switzerland (AP) — Ousted French soccer federation president Noël Le Graët formally withdrew his candidacy for re-election to the FIFA Council, European soccer body UEFA said Monday.

Le Graët had stayed in the April 5 election contest for the $250,000-a-year position despite rising criticism in recent weeks of his leadership of French soccer. The 81-year-old Le Graët finally resigned last week after a government audit found he no longer had legitimacy because of his behavior toward women and his management style.

UEFA published an updated candidate list noting that Le Graët has “decided to withdraw his candidature from the election” for a FIFA seat he held for four years.

Despite his resignation, the French official seems to remain a special delegate for FIFA president Gianni Infantino at the governing body’s satellite office in Paris. Infantino declined to answer a question about Le Graët’s status at a news conference in London on Saturday.

UEFA picks eight members of the 37-seat FIFA Council. Le Graët’s withdrawal leaves intended opponent Fernando Gomes, the Portuguese soccer federation president, unopposed for election at the body's annual meeting, which will be held in Lisbon.

At 71, Gomes has passed the age limit of 70 set in UEFA rules to stay on as one of its vice presidents, but no such rule applies to European elections for FIFA positions.


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The Associated Press