South Korean FIFA presidential candidate Chung Mong-joon says he is facing suspension by the international football body's ethics committee, but denies any wrongdoing. Scandals have rocked FIFA for months.
A South Korean candidate to take over FIFA leadership should Sepp Blatter step down in February has proclaimed his innocence amid word that the international football body could move to suspend him. On Tuesday, Chung Mong-joon said FIFA's Ethics Committee had launched an investigation into whether in 2010 he had tried to help South Korea win its unsuccessful bid to host the 2022 World Cup by proposing a $777 million (694 million euro) fund to support international football.
"Ultimately, I will prevail and will be vindicated," said Chung, a scion of the Hyundai industrial conglomerate. Chung said that the move to suspend him for up to 19 years was "unfair," alluding that President Blatter was behind it.
"People say FIFA's Ethics Committee is Mr. Blatter's 'hitman.' They never hit him but only those who challenge Mr. Blatter."
Chung said he faces a 15-year suspension if he's found guilty of exchanging money or personal favors, and a further four years for defaming the committee.
"The fundamental reason why I am being targeted is that I aimed straight at the existing power structure of FIFA," he said.
Blatter's right hand at FIFA, Jerome Valcke, has been suspended in the course of the investigation, as has former US FIFA official Chuck Blazer and Trinidadian Jack Warner.
mkg/msh (Reuters, AFP)