FIFA’s suspicious moves

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FIFA’s suspicious moves

Former FIFA Vice President Chung Mong-joon plans to file charges against the scandal-ridden football governing body at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) for banning him from holding any position in the organization for six years. The ban would make Chung ineligible to run in the FIFA presidential election on Feb. 26. An ethics committee investigating the 111-year-old football association for its tradition of Mafia-like corruption, bribes and crookedness banned Chung for violating “vague articles” of the code of ethics relating to matters such as “duty of disclosure” and his attitude during the investigation.

Chung was reported to the ethics committee for violation of vote-trading rules and the appearance of offering a benefit by sending letters to member countries pledging personal donations to poor countries to help Korea win the hosting right for the 2022 World Cup Games five years ago. But the original charges against him were dropped in the final ruling. He was cleared of the bribery charges but nevertheless received harsher sanctions than FIFA President Sepp Blatter, who has been suspended over allegations of improper payments, and UEFA head and FIFA presidential candidate Michel Platini, who was suspended for 90 days though he was charged with receiving money from Blatter.

Some critics suspect Blatter was behind the ruling to hold onto his power over the organization and to sabotage candidates attempting to succeed him. The suspiciously heavy punishment for Chung underscores that elite European figures wield mighty power over football’s governing body.

FIFA, which does not pay any taxes or face any formal audits, is believed to have collected over $150 million from corporate sponsors and media organizations since the 1990s. It banned Chung, who was bidding for its presidency by promising to balance the European-led organization and break the tradition of dysfunctional and corrupt practices. The organization’s reputation cannot be saved unless it undergoes sweeping reforms, including radical changes to the World Cup operation system. JoongAng Ilbo, Oct. 10, Page 26


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