Football: Sepp Blatter rebukes criticism by Fifa presidential candidate Chung Mong Joon

Blatter said in the statement that "personal attacks" made by Dr. Chung at the press conference were "particularly disrespectful to all concerned."
Blatter said in the statement that "personal attacks" made by Dr. Chung at the press conference were "particularly disrespectful to all concerned." PHOTO: AFP

PARIS (AFP) - Fifa president Sepp Blatter has slammed comments by Chung Mong Joon, a candidate to take over football's world governing body who called it a corrupt organisation.

Blatter said he was disturbed by the South Korean industrialist's outspoken comments at a press conference in Paris on Monday, when Chung officially launched his candidacy.

Chung went on the attack against Blatter and Uefa leader Michel Platini, his rival in the Fifa race, saying: "The real reason Fifa has become such a corrupt organisation is because the same person, Blatter, has been running it for 40 years. Absolute power corrupts absolutely."

In reply, Blatter said: "It is disturbing, to say the least, to hear Dr Chung describe Fifa as a corrupt organisation. Even more so when one recalls - and as Dr Chung cannot have forgotten - that he was a Fifa vice-president and a Fifa emergency committee member for 17 years from 1994 up until 2011."

Blatter said in the statement that "personal attacks" made by Dr. Chung at the press conference were "particularly disrespectful to all concerned".

"I would like to stress again that Fifa is dedicated to improving the organisation and will continue to strengthen its governance and accountability," the Swiss said. "Our work in this area continuously evolves, and we are focused on achieving the highest standards for the international football community."

Chung made several attacks on Fifa's leadership at the campaign launch in a Paris hotel saying that it was in a "profound crisis" over police inquiries into two corruption affairs.

He also said that Platini should not be a candidate because he was too linked to Fifa's past system.

Fourteen Fifa officials and sports business executives were charged by United States authorities in May over more than US$150 million (S$211 million) in bribes allegedly paid for television and marketing deals.

Swiss police are separately investigating the award of the 2018 and 2022 World Cup Finals to Russia and Qatar respectively.

Chung said that as long as there is no "clear evidence" of wrongdoing in the Qatar bid then Fifa had to keep its promises to the Gulf state, which is spending billions of dollars preparing for the event.