Tycoon Chung to appeal FIFA ban, slams ‘hitmen’


Seoul (AFP) – South Korean billionaire Chung Mong-Joon said Thursday he would appeal to the international sports tribunal over his five-year ban by FIFA, accusing its ethics committee of acting like “hitmen” for former leader Sepp Blatter.

Chung, a former FIFA vice-president and presidential candidate, and a scion of the Hyundai family, was banned by FIFA’s ethics committee for contravening lobbying rules during South Korea’s failed bid to host the 2022 World Cup.

“I’m taking this action not to redeem my good name… I am doing this because I am among the few people who could raise (his) voice” against Blatter’s legacy, Chung said, calling the ethics committee’s key members “Blatter’s appointees”.

“FIFA is attempting to reform under new leadership but the FIFA ethics committee is still acting like Blatter’s hitmen. This is disappointing,” Chung told journalists at the Korea Football Association headquarters in Seoul.

He said he would lodge an appeal this month with the Lausanne-based Court of Arbitration for Sport against his ban from all football-related activities.

In 2015, the ethics committee hit Chung with a six-year ban, before the appeals committee reduced it to five years last July and cut his fine from 100,000 to 50,000 Swiss francs ($99,680-$49,840), citing insufficient evidence.

Chung said FIFA had admitted to failing to find proof for his alleged “vote-trading” and “giving the appearance of offering benefit”, and should have dropped the case against him.

Chung had been a candidate to replace Blatter but ultimately withdrew from the race, which saw ex-UEFA secretary general Gianni Infantino elected pledging to reform the scandal-tainted body.

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