SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korean FIFA presidential candidate Chung Mong-joon insists soccer’s embattled governing body is still the right organisation to run the world’s most popular sport, but only if the current leadership is ousted.
In a statement pushing his case that he was the right man to lead change, Chung said he supported the ongoing investigations taking place into alleged corruption in FIFA, but believed the running of the sport should not be given to “outsiders”.
“The most urgent task at hand is to root out corruption from within FIFA,” he said.
“Justice must be served. Resuscitating FIFA, however, should be left to those who love football. The future of football should not be left in the hands of outsiders.”
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.
The incumbent, Sepp Blatter, is to stand down in February.
Chung has been heavily critical of Blatter, who has run FIFA for the past 17 years and recently become the focus of a criminal investigation.
Blatter has denied any wrongdoing and has not been charged with any crimes.
But Chung said FIFA was “facing an unprecedented crisis” and could not continue under the same leadership in the wake of the ongoing scandal.
“Under such circumstances, FIFA and regional Confederations should consider convening extra-ordinary sessions of their respective Executive Committee as well as Congress to set up an emergency task force that will enable FIFA Secretariat to function without interruption,” he said.
”FIFA should not be an institution that provides for the opulent life style of a powerful few.
“Rather, it should be transformed into an organisation dedicated to providing footballers and football fans with the experience of joy and hope that only football can provide, all the while instilling the spirit of fair play.”
Chung is one of several men who have announced they plan to run for the FIFA presidency. The others are UEFA President Michel Platini, Jordan’s Prince Ali and Musa Bility, the Liberian Football Association boss.
Former Brazilian great Zico, former Trinidad and Tobago international midfielder David Nakhid, Segun Odegbami, a former Nigerian player have also said they will stand. South African businessman Tokyo Sexwale and Nigerian businessman Orji Uzor Kalu are also considering a bid.
If elected, Chung said he would only serve a single four year term, time enough to reform FIFA, then step aside.
“I will use the first two years to undertake a complete structural and operational reform of FIFA. The other two years will be devoted to bringing about unity and harmony to the organization,” he said.
“Forty years of culture of corruption can be eradicated in four years. There is no reason why it cannot be done. In fact, that is the only way it can be done.”
Reporting by Julian Linden