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Chung Taking on FIFA Pres. in Proxy War

Posted April. 16, 2009 09:22,   


The Korea Football Association filed a complaint with soccer`s world governing body FIFA yesterday against Asian Football Confederation President Mohamed bin Hammam over his threats made against Korean Football Association President Cho Chung-yeon.

The incident, however, is a proxy war for a power struggle between FIFA President Sepp Blatter and Vice President Chung Mong-joon, according to experts.

Blatter considers Chung an eyesore due to Chung’s opposition to his stance, and is apparently using Hammam to keep Chung in check. Hammam helped Blatter`s re-election as head of the soccer association in 2002.

In the run-up to the confederation`s general assembly May 9 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Hammam is locking horns with Chung over everything. Hammam is competing against Bahrain Football Association President Shaikh Salman, who is backed by Chung, for a fourth term on FIFA’s executive committee. Four committee seats are alloted to Asian members, and Chung is one of them.

To apparently block Salman’s candidacy and threaten Chung’s position, Hammam submitted a revision to a statute to the confederation`s executive committee meeting in February. The revision said a candidate for an executive committee spot must serve as a confederation executive committee member for at least four years and vice presidency for Asia should be automatically granted to the confederation president.

For his part, Chung accused Hammam of improper behavior at the FIFA executive committee meeting in the middle of last month. Chung`s referral of Hammam to the FIFA`s ethics and disciplinary committees is reportedly to preclude Blatter from supporting Hammam.

Hammam’s failure to win a FIFA executive committee seat will boost Chung’s candidacy for FIFA president. This in turn could help Korea’s bid to host the 2022 World Cup at the FIFA executive committee meeting in December next year, according to experts.