By Andrew Warshaw
April 6 – As he prepares to try and clear his name at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), an embittered Chung Mong-joon says Sepp Blatter’s legacy still pervades FIFA and that he has been treated maliciously by FIFA’s ethics committee.
The former FIFA vice-president, who at one stage was hoping to take over from Blatter, is going to sport’s highest court to try and get his five-year ban from all football-related activities overturned.
Chung, one of FIFA’s most powerful administrators between 1994 and 2011, was found guilty in 2015 of contravening rules while lobbying for his country’s bid to host the 2022 World Cup. FIFA’s appeals committee reduced his initial six-year ban to five, saying there was not enough evidence to prove he had infringed an article of FIFA’s ethics code covering confidentiality. It also halved the fine imposed on him to CHF 50,000.
But the South Korean seems to believe that by continuing his fight, he will help get rid of what he describes as the “old ways” of the Blatter regime.
That might be the wishful thinking but Chung told reporters in Seoul as he explained why he is going to CAS: “When one looks at the key members of the Ethics Committee and the Appeal Committee who were put there by Blatter, I realise that this is not the end of FIFA’s reform but only the beginning.”
“I really expect that (Gianni) Infantino will change lots of things for FIFA, but Blatter’s people are still on the Ethics Committee and Appeal Committee. It’s going to take some time, but I will do everything in my power to make FIFA clean.”
Although the FIFA Appeals Committee reduced his ban, Chung complained that FIFA has been dragging out his case deliberately.
“Because the Ethics Committee had previously taken six months to send its reasoned decision, I can finally prepare to file an appeal to CAS, some 18 months after the original ban was imposed,” he said.
“This is like a court carrying out the execution of the defendant, then sending out the ruling 18 months later. This is malicious behaviour.”
“FIFA Ethics and Appeal Committees started the investigation against me with serious allegations such as ‘vote trading’ and ‘appearance’ of offering benefits.
“However, when none of them would hold, they started to pick on such technical and procedural issues as my use of FIFA letterhead, not cooperating with the investigation, etc.
“If they are such sticklers for rules of conduct, ethics and credibility, how was it that it took them so much time to send me their ‘reasoned decision,’ such that I am able to proceed with my appeal to CAS 18 months after their initial ban?
“As the saying goes, ‘Justice delayed is justice denied’.”
“Fighting FIFA’s ban is not about restoring my personal honour. It is an extension of the lonely fight to reform FIFA that I have been waging since 1994.”
“There is not much for me to gain personally by pursuing this route. However, I am committed to continue my fight against FIFA’s old ways because I believe that it will contribute to FIFA’s new beginning. While there is a new FIFA president in place, key individuals in the FIFA Ethics Committee and the Appeal Committee who were handpicked by Mr. Blatter still remain.”
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