Asian Football Confederation president Mohamed Bin Hammam withdrew his candidacy for the post of FIFA president on Saturday, a day before he was due to face an ethics committee hearing into accusations of bribery.
Bin Hammam, 62, was to stand against Sepp Blatter in the election to choose the head of the organisation in Zurich on Wednesday.
Blatter and Jack Warner, the president of the American and Caribbean federation, who is implicated in the bribery accusations as well, are also due to face an ethics committee on Sunday.
In a statement, Bin Hammam said he wanted to spark a debate about change in FIFA.
However, he said standing up for the causes that he believed in, had come at a great price - the degradation of FIFA's reputation.
He said ''the game itself and the people who love it around the world'' must come first and it was for this reason that he announced his withdrawal from the presidential election.
The withdrawal means that depending on what happens on Sunday, Blatter should be re-elected as president of FIFA for a fourth term.