Sports

Chung Mong-joon to mull running for FIFA president

Lee Tae-hoon
Written by Lee Tae-hoon

Former FIFA vice president Chung Mong-joon said Wednesday he is considering running for the world’s top football job, hours after the embattled Sepp Blatter announced his resignation as head of the scandal-ridden body.

Chung, who served as FIFA’s No. 2 man from 1994 to 2011, said he will “listen closely” to the opinions of international football leaders before making up his mind.

Earlier on Wednesday, Korean time, Blatter announced his resignation at a news conference in Zurich.

FIFA’s Audit and Compliance Committee said an election will be held sometime between December 2015 and March 2016. Blatter plans to remain in his post until that election.

He was just re-elected to his fifth mandate last weekend. The election was held two days after seven officials were arrested in Switzerland as part of a U.S. investigation into corruption at FIFA.

So far, American authorities have indicted nine football officials and five sports marketing executives on charges of wire fraud, racketeering and money laundering.

ABC News reported that Blatter was also being investigated by the FBI and U.S. prosecutors, though he hasn’t been publicly identified as a target of the probe.

Before the election, Chung, one of Blatter’s most vocal critics, released a statement calling on Blatter to resign. Chung said only Blatter’s departure from the top football body could save the sport from further disgrace.

Chung said last week while Blatter developed FIFA into one of the world’s most powerful sports organizations, it has also become among the most untrustworthy bodies on his watch.

At Wednesday’s press conference, Chung called Blatter’s resignation “quite disappointing and regrettable.”
“As someone who served as FIFA’s vice president for 17 years, I feel responsible (for the scandals),” Chung added.

Chung is one of the country’s most influential figures in football. He was the Korea Football Association chief from 1993 to 2009 and later became its honorary chairman. A former lawmaker and a scion of the conglomerate Hyundai Group, Chung helped bring the FIFA World Cup to South Korea for the first time in 2002, with Japan as a co-host.

About the author

Lee Tae-hoon

Lee Tae-hoon

Lee Tae-hoon is publisher at The Korea Observer. He previously worked for the Korea Times and Arirang TV. You can reach him at lee@koreaobserver.com.

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