Chung slams smear tactics

PARIS • Fifa presidential candidate Chung Mong Joon warned on Tuesday that the election to pick Sepp Blatter successor is in danger of "being manipulated to a degree unseen even in previous notorious Fifa presidential elections".

The South Korean billionaire has been subjected to attacks in the German press, who have not cited their sources, since he launched his campaign to replace the embattled Fifa president last week.

Blatter, 79, stepped down shortly after winning a fifth term earlier this year, with Fifa embroiled in allegations of corruption.

Chung, a former Fifa vice-president, had on Saturday refuted the allegations against him that he tried in 2010 to influence the vote in his home country's favour for the hosting of the 2022 World Cup Finals.

Qatar were the controversial winners and their victory - together with Russia's for 2018 - are subject to one of the investigations.

Chung then issued another statement, in which he slammed the manner in which the campaign was being constantly affected by leaks springing from within Fifa, and he said if the election was not seen to be fair, then Fifa's image would not recover.

"Whether or not the upcoming Fifa presidential election takes place according to due process, fairness and openness will be the litmus test for whether or not genuine reform of Fifa will be possible," his statement read.

"Only a fair and open election can resuscitate Fifa's reputation which has been gravely undermined by scandals old and new.

"Unfortunately, there are increasing signs that the election is deteriorating into a typical Fifa affair with selective leaks of so-called 'confidential' information, accusations of wrong-doing based on 'unconfirmed reports', un-named 'sources' and 'insiders'.

"The recent press reports attacking Dr Chung's character and integrity are based on such unconfirmed, leaked sources and full of factual distortions."

The 63-year-old, who made an abortive bid for the Korean presidency in 2002, once again emphasised that he was clean and not under threat of facing any Fifa disciplinary action.

Chung's main rival to succeed Blatter is Uefa president Michel Platini, with the election set to be held on Feb 26 next year.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 27, 2015, with the headline 'Chung slams smear tactics'. Print Edition | Subscribe