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S Korea Fifa hopeful slams 'cannibal' Blatter and stooge Platini

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South Korean billionaire Chung Moon-Joon pushed his candidacy for the Fifa presidency in uncompromising terms on Thursday, calling Sepp Blatter a corrupt "cannibal" and painting his main election rival Michel Platini as an untrustworthy stooge.

[SEOUL] South Korean billionaire Chung Mong-Joon pushed his candidacy for the Fifa presidency in uncompromising terms on Thursday, calling Sepp Blatter a corrupt "cannibal" and painting his main election rival Michel Platini as an untrustworthy stooge.

A former Fifa vice president and powerbroker of Asian football, Mr Chung described himself as a non-European, untainted by scandal and with a vision to make football's governing body globally representative.

The billionaire scion of Korea's Hyundai group, confirmed he would formally announce his candidacy to replace Blatter next week and also pledged that, if elected, he would only serve a single, four-year term.

"During those four years I hope I can fulfil my agenda, making Fifa a true, sporting NGO - open, transparent, moral, ethical and truly global," Mr Chung told AFP during an interview in Seoul.

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The 63-year-old joins a shortlist of declared and likely candidates that includes the likes of UEFA president Michel Platini and Prince Ali bin al Hussein of Jordan who ousted Chung from the Fifa executive board in 2011.

Mr Platini, who confirmed his candidacy on Wednesday, is currently seen as the front-runner and is believed to have the backing of four of Fifa's six regional confederations.

Mr Blatter decided to stand down shortly after being re-elected as president in June with scandal-hit Fifa's reputation in tatters. He announced last week that the election for his successor would be held on February 26, 2016.

Mr Platini has positioned himself since just prior to last year's World Cup as one of the most outspoken opponents to Mr Blatter's regime, but Chung argued that the Frenchman was fatally tainted by his past associations with the president.

"Mr Platini is good for football, but whether he can be a good Fifa president? I don't think so. He is a product of the current Fifa system," Mr Chung said.

"There are several questions we can have whether Platini can symbolise a new era for Fifa or whether he is simply a protege of Blatter," he added.

Mr Chung is likely to prove a strong candidate as he retains enormous influence within Asian football and certainly has the financial clout to run an effective campaign.

And he is quick to play up his past record of clashing with Mr Blatter.

In 2002, Mr Chung was one of a number of executive committee members who actively campaigned against Mr Blatter's re-election, backing African rival Issa Hayatou and accusing the Fifa president of misusing funds.

"President Blatter is like a cannibal eating his parents and then crying he's an orphan. He tries to blame everybody except himself," Mr Chung said.

"If I get elected... I'll try to have more transparency and development. I'll try to eliminate corruption," he added.

Candidates have until October 26 - exactly four months before the vote - to come forward.

They must have the confirmed backing of at least five of Fifa's 209 member nations, and be cleared by the world governing body's ethics committee, to be able to stand.

AFP

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