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"Joint Soccer Team for 2006 World Cup Unlikely"

Posted January. 18, 2005 23:16,   


Chung Mong-joon (54), president of the Korea Football Association (KFA), has been reappointed to resume his office.

Chung was reappointed as the 50th president of the KFA, with 23 valid ballots from the total 27 members in the 2005 general meeting held Tuesday at Sinmunno Soccer Hall in Seoul. In the meeting, Gwak Jeong-whan, president of K-League, was absent due to a business trip, and three provincial presidents, including Gyeonggi Province, were unable to participate since they have not yet been officially appointed to the office.

Since his first victory in 1993, Chung has maintained the office by being elected four consecutive times. Now, by 2008, Chung is going to lead Korean soccer for 16 years. After being elected, he presented main agendas such as newly establishing the technology division within the association, expanding the current 13 K-League teams to 16, initiating a system to promote a good K2-League team to K-League or demote a poor K-League team to K2-League, and hosting the 2007 FIFA World Youth Championship.

How do you feel about being elected again?—

“I think that the soccer world has made some meaningful progress in the past decade. I might lose the right opportunity to withdraw, but now that I am once again given this responsibility, I will do my best for the development of soccer in the next four years and will retire then.”

What is your plan for the next four years?—

“The general meeting of the delegates passed the agenda to incorporate the association. I will put in efforts to encourage the root soccer of the youth and to promote the status of Korean soccer in the world.”

Is the joint soccer team for 2006 World Cup possible?—

“It is too early to say decisively. The North Korean soccer team made it to a qualifying round for the 2006 World Cup Germany. The team is clearly improved. I hope that both Koreas can get through a preliminary together.”

How do you plan to deal with struggles surrounding this election?—

“Soccer is a sport for people, which naturally attracts a lot of attention toward the person who will be the next president. Several ideas were presented from those who have great affection for soccer. I am going to choose the most constructive one from those.”

Tell us about your plan for soccer diplomacy—

“I am also the vice president of FIFA. Forty-five Asian members elected me for this position. As the vice president of FIFA, I will do my best for the development not only of Korean soccer but also of the international soccer.”

Sang-Ho Kim Jong-Koo Yang hyangsan@donga.com yjongk@donga.com