FIFA chief candidate Chung slams Blatter, Platini

Seoul, July 30

South Korean billionaire Chung Mong-Joon pushed his candidacy for the FIFA presidency in uncompromising terms on Thursday, calling Sepp Blatter a corrupt “cannibal” and painting his main election rival Michel Platini as an untrustworthy stooge.

A former FIFA vice president and powerbroker of Asian football, Chung described himself as a candidate untainted by scandal and with a global, non-Eurocentric vision to take football’s governing body into a new era. The billionaire scion of Korea’s Hyundai group confirmed he would formally announce his candidacy to replace Blatter next week and also pledged that, if elected, he would only serve a single, four-year term. “During those four years I hope I can fulfill my agenda, making FIFA a true, sporting NGO — open, transparent, moral, ethical and truly global,” said Chung. “I don’t want to be a FIFA president who just enjoys the office,” he added.

The 63-year-old is among a shortlist of declared and likely candidates that includes the likes of UEFA president Platini and Prince Ali bin al Hussein of Jordan who ousted Chung from the FIFA executive board in 2011. Platini, who confirmed his candidacy on Wednesday, is currently seen as the front-runner and is believed to have the backing of four of FIFA’s six regional confederations.

Blatter decided to stand down shortly after being re-elected as president in June with scandal-hit FIFA’s reputation in tatters. He announced last week that the election of his successor would be held on February 26. Platini has positioned himself since just prior to last year’s World Cup as one of the most outspoken opponents to Blatter’s regime, but Chung argued that the Frenchman was fatally tainted by his past associations with the president.

“Platini is good for football, but whether he can be a good FIFA president? I don’t think so. He is a product of the current FIFA system,” Chung said.

The South Korean is likely to prove a strong candidate as he retains enormous influence within Asian football and certainly has the financial clout to run an effective campaign. And he is quick to play up his past record of clashing with Blatter. In 2002, Chung was one of a number of executive committee members who actively campaigned against Blatter’s re-election, backing African rival Issa Hayatou and accusing the FIFA president of misusing funds. “President Blatter is like a cannibal eating his parents and then crying he’s an orphan. “