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Chung out to retain FIFA seat

Asian confederation to re-elect delegates on Thursday

FIFA vice president Chung Mong-joon arrived in Qatar on Tuesday to make a last pitch for his re-election campaign ahead of the Asian Football Confederation’s meeting in Doha.

The 46-member Asian confederation is to convene Thursday, one day before the opening of the 2011 Asian Cup, to re-elect their FIFA delegates.

The AFC has four seats on the 24-member FIFA executive committee, including the post of one of FIFA’s eight vice presidents. And Chung, who has held the position since 1994, is running to defend his seat for another four-year term.

The honorary president of the Korea Football Association won his fourth term in 2007 unopposed, but this time, he is facing a challenge from Prince Ali bin Al Hussein of Jordan. 
Chung Mong-joon (right) with FIFA president Sepp Blatter. (Yonhap News)
Chung Mong-joon (right) with FIFA president Sepp Blatter. (Yonhap News)

Many believe that the 59-year-old Chung, considering his experience and leadership skills, will secure the vice presidency.

However, Prince Ali, 35, the head of the West Asian Football Federation, is appealing for full Arab support to dethrone Chung and become the youngest member of the FIFA executive committee.

Reports suggest that the Jordanian royal is also backed by FIFA president Sepp Blatter, who welcomed the decision to give the 2022 World Cup to Qatar.

Blatter, who became the FIFA president in 1998, is scheduled to stand for re-election in June at FIFA’s annual congress in Zurich.

So far, Blatter is the only candidate who has openly declared his intent to run for the election, but Chung along with Mohammed Bin Hammam of Qatar, the president of AFC, are seen as strong candidates to end the 74-year-old Swiss man’s regime.

Chung, the major share-holder of Hyundai Heavy Industries Co., claimed in late November that he had no intention of running for FIFA’s presidency.

But back then, he was worried that his decision might affect Korea’s bid to host the 2022 World Cup. Now, with Qatar having won the right to host the tournament, there may be nothing to hinder him from vying to become the first Asian FIFA president.

He, however, must first defend his FIFA vice presidential seat by winning the majority vote from the AFC congress. The committee is scheduled to cast a secret ballot at the Sheraton Hotel in Doha on Thursday morning to select the post of FIFA vice president for Asia as well as new FIFA delegates.

By Oh Kyu-wook (596story@heraldcorp.com)
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