|Title||Former FIFA VP Chung mulls presidential bid|
Chung Mong-joon. (Ahn Young-joon/AP)
SEOUL, Korea, Republic Of — Former FIFA Vice-President Chung Mong-joon said Tuesday he is leaning toward running for president of football’s governing body at the Feb. 26 election to replace Sepp Blatter.
Chung told The Associated Press on Tuesday that a non-European leader would help breathe "new wind" into FIFA, which faces mounting pressure to reform amid ongoing American and Swiss investigations into alleged corruption.
He also criticized FIFA’s decision to allow Blatter to remain as president for seven months until the election, despite calls for him to immediately step down.
"Blatter has been doing whatever he wants with FIFA for 40 years since his days as general secretary, and while he said he’s going out, it doesn’t seem he really is," said Chung in a telephone conversation.
"Letting Blatter manage FIFA and design reform plans before the February vote is comedy."
Chung, who was a key factor in helping South Korea land the right to co-host the 2002 World Cup with Japan, has been a longtime critic of Blatter, who he described as a dictatorial "little brat" in a memoir published in 2011.
Chung had been FIFA vice-president for 17 years and was once considered a candidate to succeed Blatter before losing his seat in 2011. The billionaire scion of the Hyundai business group had also been a South Korean lawmaker and presidential candidate.
Chung said he plans to consult leaders of regional confederations and other key figures before he finalizes his decision whether to run for FIFA’s presidency. If he becomes president, Chung said he would aim to eliminate corruption and improve its accounting transparency. He said he would also try to strengthen football in Asia and other regions where the sport has most room to grow.
"I am positively considering running for the presidency and will be able to reveal my decision soon," he said.
The Feb. 26 date agreed by FIFA was a political victory for Blatter over European governing body UEFA and its supporters in other continents, who wanted a December ballot and thought they had a compromise agreement on Sunday for Jan. 15.
UEFA President Michel Platini, former Brazil great Zico and Liberia federation president Musa Bility are among the early contenders to succeed Blatter.
When asked about his potential chances to become FIFA president, Chung said "there is no such thing as an easy election."
"I have tried several times to become FIFA president, experienced parliamentary elections and also tried to become South Korean president, so you could trust me on that."
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