Chung accuses AFC of 'undermining' FIFA election

Thu Sep 3, 2015 11:05am EDT
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By Sohee Kim

SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korean FIFA presidential candidate Chung Mong-joon has accused the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) of sending unsolicited letters to its members urging them to support his rival Michel Platini at next year's election.

In a statement released on Thursday and read out at a news conference in Seoul, Chung said the letters asked members to sign a form pledging their support for Platini, the head of European soccer's governing body UEFA.

Chung said the letters were in breach of FIFA's election guidelines and threatened to "undermine the fairness" of the poll, which will be held on Feb. 26, 2016 to decide the successor to outgoing incumbent Sepp Blatter.

"Sheikh Salman, President of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), has publicly supported Michel Platini, President of the UEFA," the statement said.

"We have learned that the AFC has sent unsolicited letters to almost every AFC member association. Most of the AFC member countries including China, Japan, Mongolia, India, and Singapore received this letter. South Korea and Jordan, however, did not."

Chung, the 63-year-old billionaire scion of South Korea's Hyundai industrial conglomerate, formally announced last month that he was running for the FIFA presidency. Jordan's Prince Ali bin Hussein is also among the potential candidates.

Platini has long been the bookmakers' favorite to succeed Blatter and Sheikh Salman has publicly declared his support for the Frenchman.

The AFC later released a statement, saying it was up to each member to decide for themselves who they would vote for.   Continued...

Former FIFA vice-president Chung Mong-joon of South Korea attends a news conference to formally launch his bid to become president of world soccer's governing body in Paris, France, August 17, 2015. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol