SEOUL, Oct 6, (Agencies): FIFA presidential hopeful Chung Mong-Joon said Tuesday the ethics committee of football’s governing body wants him banned for 19 years and slammed the move as a bid to “smear” his election campaign.
The South Korean tycoon said that FIFA president Sepp Blatter, himself the target of a Swiss criminal investigation, was behind the attacks on him.
“The fact that I am the target of Blatter’s smear campaign is clearly the most powerful endorsement of my candidacy,” he told reporters.
Chung said FIFA’s independent ethics committee had asked for a 15 year suspension from all football activities for alleged vote-trading and other actions during bids for the 2018 and 2022 World Cup.
South Korea was one of the candidates for the 2022 World Cup which went to Qatar.
Chung added that he faced an additional four year ban for allegedly defaming the ethics committee.
“People say FIFA’s Ethics Committee is Blatter’s ‘hitman’. They never hit him but only those who challenge Blatter,” Chung told reporters.
FIFA and its ethics commission declined to comment on the South Korean’s claims.
Chung, a leading candidate for the FIFA election in February, along with UEFA president Michel Platini and Prince Ali bin al Hussein of Jordan, has become a virulent critic of Blatter.
He said he was under scrutiny for letters he sent in 2010 to FIFA executive members about the creation of a Global Football Fund (GFF).
South Korea proposed the fund to support football projects, valued at $777 million, as it was bidding to host the World Cup.
Meanwhile, FIFA has fined Hong Kong after fans jeered the Chinese national anthem and threw a drink at a rival player during a World Cup qualifier, the city’s football authorities said Tuesday. Fans booed the “March of the Volunteers” — the anthem they share with China — at the game against Qatar in Hong Kong last month which the home side lost 3-2.
Last year’s mass pro-democracy protests have soured attitudes in the semi-autonomous territory towards Chinese authorities and prompted resentment among some fans that the Chinese anthem is used to represent the city’s team.
A carton of lemon tea was also thrown at a Qatari player.
Possible sanctions from world football’s governing body could have included playing future matches behind closed doors, but Hong Kong escaped with a fine and a warning.
The Hong Kong Football Association said it had been fined 5,000 Swiss francs ($5,100) over the “improper conduct among the supporters of its team”.
It was also warned about future behaviour at matches.
“FIFA has warned the HKFA that any further infringements will lead to more severe sanctions,” HKFA said in a statement.
“The HKFA would like to request Hong Kong fans to refrain from such action at all future matches so to avoid future sanctions,” it added.
Fans’ anger against China was stoked in June when a promotional poster used by the China Football Association described the city’s team as “black skinned, white skinned and yellow skinned,” which Hong Kong supporters criticised as racist.
FIFA had already given a warning to the HKFA after the Chinese anthem was booed at two home games earlier this year.
Hong Kong’s next qualifying game is away to Bhutan on October 13 before a rematch with China in November.
The two sides played out a 0-0 draw in the Chinese city of Shenzhen, just across the border from Hong Kong, last month.