FIFA presidential candidate Chung Mong-joon faces a potential 19-year suspension for ethics violations regarding South Korea’s bid for the 2022 World Cup, he said on Tuesday according to the Associated Press.
While South Korea’s bid was still active, Chung sent letters to members of FIFA’s executive committee proposing the creation of a $777 million fund to finance the development of world soccer. Chung said the FIFA ethics committee is planning on suspending him from the organization for 15 years for that alleged breach in ethics, though Chung denies his proposal constituted wrongdoing.
In response to the suspension, Chung accused the committee of acting as Sepp Blatter’s “hit man,” as he believes the current FIFA president is trying to sabotage his candidacy. The ethics committee has threatened to add four additional years to his suspension for “defaming” the committee by questioning its integrity.
“The true danger is that they won’t stop at sabotaging only my candidacy but also destructing FIFA’s presidential election and FIFA itself,” Chung said at a press conference in Seoul. “The fundamental reason why I am being targeted is that I aimed straight at the existing power structure of FIFA.”
Chung, who is a South Korean billionaire and former FIFA vice president, said FIFA had already investigated the letters in 2010, but reopened the investigation after he announced he would run for FIFA president in August.
South Korea’s bid failed, and the 2022 World Cup was ultimately awarded to Qatar.
Last month, Swiss authorities opened a criminal investigation into Blatter for criminal mismanagement and misappropriation of FIFA money. Blatter announced in June that he would step down from the FIFA presidency after a special election had been held.
The special election for the new FIFA president will take place on Feb. 26. Prince Ali bin al-Hussein and UEFA president Michel Platini have also declared their candidacy.
- Erin Flynn