News 7 October 2015

Mong-joon accuses FIFA of sabotaging his Presidential bid

South Korea’s Chung Mong-joon (pictured) has accused FIFA of sabotaging his campaign to be elected as President of FIFA. Mong-joon said that FIFA’s independent Ethics Committee will charge him with violating six articles of FIFA’s Code of Ethics in relation to his support for South Korea’s 2022 World Cup bid, and he is facing a 15-year suspension.

“Ethics Committee is not charging me with a criminal offence, and it is not charging me with bribery, corruption or conflict of interest”, he said in a news conference yesterday, reported by Reuters. “All that the Ethics Committee is relying on is that I have not fully cooperated or collaborated with the investigation and that I had violated confidentiality requirements”.

The charges against him stem from his plan to establish a Global Football Fund (GFF) if South Korea won its bid to host the 2022 World Cup. It is understood that the Ethics Committee consider the GFF a conflict of interest, as it could have been used to secure votes for South Korea’s bid.

“There was nothing unusual about GFF”, Chung said in the news conference yesterday. The GFF was perfectly in line with the football development projects that FIFA asked every bidding country to propose as part of their bid requirement. No money or personal favours were exchanged in relation to GFF and no such charges were made against me […] The true danger is that they are not only sabotaging my candidacy. They are sabotaging FIFA’s election and FIFA itself.”

FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter is set to step down on 26 February, when FIFA will elect a new President. As reported by the Sports Integrity Initiative last weekend, he has said that he will not stand for election as the new President, however he has yet to clarify what would happen should no viable candidates present themselves for election. Would the old President remain?

UEFA President Michel Platini and Prince Ali bin al-Hussein of Jordan are the strongest candidates to replace Blatter in February. However Platini has recently been investigated by the Swiss Office of the Attorney General (OAG) over a CHF2 million contract for consultancy work carried out between 1998 and 2002, which was not paid until 2011. Platini has said that FIFA could not afford to pay him for the work at the time, however has not fully explained why he sought repayment of the money in 2011, when he chose not to stand against Blatter in a Presidential election, and shortly after the November 2010 decision to award the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups to Russia and Qatar, respectively.

“With the campaign season starting, even issues that had been closed many years ago, have a way of being revived”, warned Mong-joon. “The fundamental reason why I am being targeted is that I aimed straight at the existing power structure of FIFA. People say that FIFA’s Ethics Committee is Mr Blatter’s hitman. They never hit him but only those who challenge Mr Blatter. From the beginning, it was clear that the Ethics Committee was undertaking this so-called investigation to prevent me from running for president of FIFA.”

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