Paris :FIFA presidential candidate Chung Mong-Joon today warned the election to succeed Sepp Blatter was in danger of “being manipulated to a degree unseen even in previous notorious FIFA presidential elections”.
The 63-year-old billionaire South Korean has been subjected to attacks in the German press, who have not cited their source, since he launched his campaign to replace Blatter last week.
The 79-year-old Swiss stepped down shortly after winning a fifth term earlier this year with FIFA embroiled in allegations of corruption, 14 FIFA and sports business executives were charged by US authorities in May over more than USD 150 million in bribes allegedly paid for television and marketing deals.
Seven FIFA officials have been detained but Blatter has not been linked to any corruption case.
Chung, a former FIFA vice-president, had on Saturday refuted the allegations against him in that he tried in 2010 to influence the vote in his home country’s favour for the hosting of the 2022 World Cup in violation of the body’s code of ethics—Qatar were controversial winners and their victory along with Russia’s for 2018 is subject to one of the investigations.
However, on Tuesday Chung issued another statement in which he slammed the manner in which the campaign was being constantly affected by leaks springing from within FIFA and he said if the election was not seen to be fair then FIFA’s image would not recover.
“Whether or not the upcoming FIFA Presidential election takes place according to due process, fairness and openness will be the litmus test for whether or not genuine reform of FIFA will be possible,” read the statement.
“Only a fair and open election can resuscitate FIFA’s reputation which has been gravely undermined by scandals old and new.
“The recent press reports attacking Dr. Chung’s character and integrity are based on such unconfirmed, leaked sources and full of factual distortions.”
Chung, who made an abortive bid for the Korean presidency in the 2002 race, once again emphasised that he was clean and not under threat of facing any FIFA disciplinary action.
“To be clear, contrary to recent press reports based on FIFA leaks, Dr. Chung is not facing any criminal charges or allegations of bribery, fraud, corruption, vote buying or even a breach of ‘conflict of interest’ under the FIFA Ethics Code from the Ethics Committee,” read the statement.
“Beyond that, Dr. Chung refrains from commenting on any possible Ethics Committee proceedings out of respect for confidentiality requests made by FIFA.
“However, by leaking information that could only have come from within FIFA, FIFA is violating its own rules and regulations that it imposes upon others.
“Indeed, the current election is in danger of being manipulated to a degree unseen even in previous notorious FIFA presidential elections.”
Chung’s main rival to succeed Blatter is UEFA president Michel Platini—the election is to be held on February 26 next year.
Chung is a member of the family that owns the various arms of the Hyundai conglomerate.