(WFI) Chung Mong-joon, the former FIFA vice-president aiming to replace Sepp Blatter admitted that he faces a lengthy ethics ban and hit out at opponents trying to sabotage his campaign.
Chung of South Korea dismissed allegations of corruption against him at a press conference in Seoul on Tuesday, an attempt to soften the blow of being served with a possible ban.
INSIDER reported on Friday that the FIFA ethics panel is investigating claims against Chung and meeting Monday or Tuesday this week. It may deliver its verdict today and could hand down an initial 90-day suspension, ending his presidential hopes.
Chung today dealt with the accusations linked to his proposed $777 million global football development fund to aid South Korea’s 2022 World Cup bid in a nine-page statement, according to Reuters.
He said the allegations, which he firmly denies and claims don’t breach FIFA’s bidding rules, were designed “to prevent me from running for the president of FIFA”.
The FIFA ethics committee, albeit in a different incarnation from the panel that investigated the allegations nearly five years ago, opened a fresh probe two months ago following an investigation last year by former FIFA investigator Michael Garcia into the scandal-tarnished 2018 and 2022 World Cup bidding process.
Chung launched his FIFA presidential campaign in August and now finds himself in a battle to clear his name.
“The fundamental reason why I am being targeted is that I aimed straight at the existing power structure of FIFA,” Chung said, adding that he would contest any charges brought against him.
“Ultimately, I will prevail and will be vindicated,” he was quoted by Reuters.
Chung has blasted Blatter’s leadership of FIFA since he launched his bid to replace the Swiss at the proposed elective congress on Feb 26 and believes the 79-year-old is trying to “sabotage” his campaign.
The 63-year-old South Korean is set to speak at the Leaders Sport Business Summit in London on Wednesday where he is expected to again attack Blatter and FIFA for allowing corruption to fester at world football’s governing body.
By INSIDER editor Mark Bisson
Your best source of news about the global football business is World Football INSIDER