July 27, 2015 / 2:20 AM / 4 years ago

FIFA hopeful Chung meets potential rival Platini in U.S.

SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea’s Chung Mong-joon, who is expected to announce his candidacy for the FIFA presidency next month, met potential rival Michel Platini in the United States on Sunday and called for a ‘fair competition’ should he enter the race.

The logo of FIFA is seen in front of its headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland July 20, 2015. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

Former FIFA Vice President Chung said last week he was still weighing up a bid to replace Sepp Blatter as the head of world soccer’s scandal-hit governing body and that he was thinking about making an official announcement in mid-August.

Chung, the billionaire scion of the Hyundai conglomerate and one of the most influential figures in Asian soccer, posted a picture of his meeting with UEFA chief Platini on his official website and said he planned to meet him again in Europe in August. (www.mjchung.com)

Platini and Chung were attending Sunday’s final of the CONCACAF Gold Cup in Philadelphia between Jamaica and Mexico.

An “extraordinary elective congress” of all 209 member associations will decide the successor to Blatter, who has been at the helm of FIFA since 1998.

Blatter announced on June 2 he was standing down, just four days after winning a fifth term with an election victory at a congress overshadowed by the arrest of seven soccer officials.

Chung, a former member of FIFA’s powerful Executive Committee and a fierce critic of Blatter, is the biggest shareholder in Hyundai Heavy Industries Co Ltd and a one-time South Korean presidential hopeful.

He was instrumental in bringing the World Cup to South Korea in 2002, when it co-hosted the event with Japan.

While he has yet to throw his hat into the ring, Platini, the head of Europe’s governing body, is viewed as favorite to succeed Blatter and has reportedly received the backing of four out of six continental confederations.

FIFA is in the grip of the worst crisis in its 111-year history, with more than a dozen sports marketing executives and soccer officials, including several from FIFA, indicted in the United States on bribery, money laundering and wire fraud charges.

Reporting by Peter Rutherford and Oh Seung-yun; Editing by Alex Richardson

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