S. Korea supports Bin Hammam candidacy

AFP, Tuesday 5 Apr 2011

South Korea threw its support Tuesday behind Mohammed Bin Hammam in his campaign to oust Sepp Blatter as the head of world football's governing body FIFA

"We welcome the candidacy of Asian Football Confederation president Mohammed Bin Hammam," declared Chung Mong-Joon, the outgoing FIFA vice president and honorary chairman of the Korea Football Association.

Chung's comment came a day after FIFA confirmed the candidacies of incumbent president Blatter and Bin Hammam. The vote will be held on June 1 in Zurich.

FIFA's image "is not so good", Chung said, adding Blatter has failed to gain "respect and love from many people".

"Blatter has served as FIFA secretary general and president for 30 years. Now it's time for him to give way to a new person," Chung told a press conference.

Korea Football Association head Cho Chyung-Yun and K-League commissioner Chung Mong-Gyu sat together with Bin Hammam in a show of solidarity.

"Some say it'd be difficult for an Asian candidate to become a FIFA president, but that's not true," Chung said, describing Bin Hammam as "the most suitable figure to bring changes and reforms" to the world body.

Bin Hammam, who arrived in Seoul Monday after a trip to North Korea, promised to transform FIFA into a transparent body.

"I'd like people to see FIFA as the most transparent organisation in the world," Bin Hammam said. "At the end of the day, we belong to fans, not to ourselves or governments."

Asia must be united behind one candidate, he said, but added that his candidacy not only represents Asia but also other regions.

He denied FIFA is corrupt but said it must make decisions more openly.

"I do strongly believe that FIFA is not a corrupted organisation. What we're missing in FIFA is transparency," the Qatari said.

Bin Hammam proposed the expansion of FIFA's executive committee from 24 to 41 members and the setting up of a transparency committee to check the decision-making process before any action is taken.

He also promised to give more power to each federation, adding: "I'm looking for changes, and I'm looking for a better future for FIFA."

Blatter, who has been president since 1998, is seeking his fourth term which he promises would be his last.

Blatter's image took a knock after he refused to look into goal-line technology despite a series of refereeing errors at the World Cup.

He has now said he expects the technology will be in place by the time of the next World Cup in Brazil in 2014.

The selection of Russia as host of the 2018 World Cup, with Qatar to host the 2022 event, also saw FIFA come in for stinging criticism amidst accusations of corruption.

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