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South Korea’s Chung Mong-Joon Considering FIFA Presidential Bid

Former FIFA Vice President Chung Mong-joon said on Wednesday that he will “carefully consider” running for FIFA presidency, following Sepp Blatter’s unexpected resignation as head of soccer’s global governing body. Chung, the biggest shareholder of South Korea’s Hyundai conglomerate, has been a fierce critic of the 79-year-old Swiss president for years, calling Blatter an “impetuous child” in his 2011 memoir.

At a press conference in Seoul, Chung told reporters that the manner of Blatter’s resignation was “quite disappointing and regrettable” and emphasized the need for transparency at FIFA.

“Blatter’s cronyism and closed management led FIFA to corruption,” Chung said. “It is a shame that FIFA is unable to reform by itself.”

The 63-year-old billionaire scion added that he would make a final decision about a bid for FIFA’s top position after meeting with international soccer leaders.

Blatter resigned just four days after he was re-elected to a fifth term as FIFA president. On May 27, the U.S. Department of Justice indicted nine FIFA officials and five corporate executives on charges racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering. U.S. authorities recently confirmed that they are trying to collect evidence linking Blatter to the ongoing investigation.

Chung, who still serves an honorary FIFA vice president, said that Blatter should not have a hand in choosing his successor, stressing that the election process should be “transparent and fair.” He also suggested that anyone seen as having unfairly benefitted from close ties to Blatter should be excluded from the presidential race. “[Blatter] was in FIFA for 40 years and he gathered his closest people to run FIFA and blocked people who asked for reforms,” Chung told the Joongang Ilbo.

“It’s about time for those with independent opinions to take over.”

Head of the Korea Football Association (KFA) from 1993 to 2009, Chung played a key role in bringing the World Cup to South Korea for the first time in 2002, with Japan as co-host. When Chung began voicing his concerns about Blatter’s management, he lost his position of FIFA vice president to Prince Ali bin Al Hussein in a 2011 vote.

Chung joins Prince Ali and UEFA president Michel Platini in the unofficial shortlist of potential candidates to replace Blatter. Meanwhile, Blatter announced that he will remain in office until a new election is held, which could take place anytime from December of this year to March of next year.

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