- Chung said he expects FIFA Ethics Committee to suspend him
- `Surprised but not disappointed,' by FIFA's move, he says
FIFA’s election to replace Joseph Blatter is in danger of becoming a farce, said Chung Mong Joon, a candidate to supplant the embattled president as head of soccer’s governing body who may face suspension by FIFA’s ethics panel.
Chung released a 26-page statement Tuesday in which he outlined his concerns for FIFA’s future, defended his tenure as a soccer official, and said he expects to be suspended by the ethics committee. Chung said he was “disappointed but not surprised” by the possible move by the panel, which he said is investigating his backing for a Global Football Fund proposed by the Korean bid for the 2022 World Cup.
The Swiss Attorney General is investigating allegations of corruption into the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar.
FIFA is five months into the biggest crisis in its 111-year history after U.S. prosecutors indicted 14 soccer executives in May on the eve of the organization’s congress in Zurich. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch has warned more arrests may come and last month Swiss prosecutors opened criminal proceedings against Blatter over alleged illicit payments he made to Michel Platini, the head of Europe’s football federation and the frontrunner to become FIFA president.
“FIFA’s Ethics Committee is Mr. Blatter’s “hitman,”’ Chung said in his statement. “They never hit him but only those who challenge Mr. Blatter.”
Chung, a South Korean politician and businessman, said that he is “not facing any allegations of bribery, fraud corruption or conflict of interest,” and that any decision to suspend him is part of a smear campaign to stop him from running for FIFA’s presidency.
FIFA Secretary-General Jerome Valcke was suspended last month by FIFA following what it said was a “series of allegations” against him.
FIFA’s press office did not have any immediate comment on Chung’s remarks. Andreas Bantel, a spokesman for the investigatory chamber of FIFA’s Ethics Committee, declined to comment.
Marc Tenbuecken, a spokesman for the adjudicatory chamber of FIFA’s Ethics Committee declined to comment on whether Chung may or may not be suspended, citing the committee’s confidentiality principles.
“I can ensure the ethics committee will treat everyone equally regardless of everyone office or standing to ensure everyone is given a fair and due process,” Tenbuecken said by phone.