SEOUL: Chung Mong-joon, former long-serving vice-president of FIFA, has raged at a corrupt culture within the leadership of a world football federation which is in ‘total meltdown’ writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

The 61-year-old South Korean is campaigning to win the presidency despite claims that he is the subject of an ethics committee inquiry into his activities ahead of the 2018-2022 World Cup host vote by the executive committee.

Currently the ethics committee is considering how to react after the Swiss Attorney General’s Office placed president Sepp Blatter is under criminal investigation and that UEFA chief Michel Platini may be implicated; both men have denied any wrongdoing.

Chung said: “During my tenure as a FIFA exco member, I worked ceaselessly to confront and to correct what I thought were opaque and illegal ways in which Mr Blatter and his predecessor, Mr [Joao] Havelange, ran FIFA.  I am sad to say that, at the time, I did not have the power to stop such corrupt practices that have now come back to haunt and destroy FIFA.”

The organisation was facing “an unprecedented crisis” but this also offered “an unprecedented opportunity” for reform.

Justice systems

Chung suggested that rooting out corruption should be left to the judicial authorities, presumably in terms of both the investigations being run by the Swiss and also by the United States Department of Justice.

FIFA’s work was continuing as usual with World Cup qualifying matches being played and development programs being auctioned but, Chung added: “FIFA, that should be overseeing all this, is in a total meltdown [with] general secretary [Jerome] Valcke already suspended.”

He proposed that FIFA and the six regional confederations should consider how to create an emergency task force.

Chung added: “FIFA should not be an institution that provides for the opulent life style of a powerful few.  Rather, it should be transformed into an organisation dedicated to providing footballers and football fans with the experience of joy and hope that only football can provide.”

He promised to “mobilize all my experience and resources at my disposal to the re-birth, the “renaissance,” as a single-term president.