S.Korea chief says FIFA in crisis under Blatter
South Korea's powerful soccer chief took another shot at FIFA president Sepp Blatter on Wednesday, saying world football's governing body was in serious crisis under the veteran Swiss sports politician's leadership.
Chung Mong-joon, a FIFA vice-president and co-chairman of the South Korean World Cup organising committee, told reporters Blatter had overstepped his authority during his presidency.
"The alleged 'Blattergate' is scandalous," said Chung, who is president of the Korean Football Association and has been at loggerheads with Blatter for months.
"It has severely damaged FIFA's reputation and credibility in the world. Only a thorough investigation can clear the way to restore FIFA's reputation," Chung said at a news conference in the lobby of his KFA headquarters.
Last week, FIFA general secretary Michel Zen-Ruffinen accused the 66-year-old Blatter of systematically mismanaging the organisation since becoming president in 1998.
Blatter, who is standing for re-election on May 29 against Issa Hayatou of Cameroon, expressed his disappointment and said he would reply to the allegations in writing within a week.
Chung backs Hayatou for the FIFA presidency. The vote will be at a FIFA congress in Seoul just two days before the World Cup finals kick off in the South Korean capital. South Korea and Japan are co-hosting the month-long tournament.
"We, the Asian members of FIFA, should raise our voice in unity and vote with our conscience," Chung said, adding Asian members' votes would be critical in the election.
Blatter has said he is confident of re-election for a second four-year term.
Chung said he and 10 other senior soccer officials had signed an agreement on Tuesday to assign a lawyer to look into possible legal proceedings against Blatter. Chung did not name the other signatories but he said they shared his views on FIFA.
The South Korean soccer chief, who has said he might run for the country's presidency this year, said despite his differences with Blatter he would still go to the airport to meet him when he arrives for the congress and finals later this month.
"I will extend all the protocol and courtesy due to his position," Chung said.
Asked what impact the FIFA row would have on the World Cup, he said: "Football fans worldwide, they are eagerly looking forward to see the opening of the World Cup. They want to see the football matches and I don't think they are much concerned about the congress of FIFA."
Chung said he was disappointed Blatter had visited North Korea without him and that he planned his own trip soon to Pyongyang, China and Japan with Hayatou.