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Chung calls FIFA boss Blatter a "little brat"

By Hyung-jin Kim

Associated Press

Published: Monday, Sept. 12 2011 12:30 a.m. MDT

FILE - In this June 29, 2010 file photo, FIFA Vice President Chung Mong-Joon, second from right, FIFA President Sepp Blatter, right, and UEFA President Michel Platini, second left, wait for the start of the World Cup round of 16 soccer match between Paraguay and Japan at the Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Pretoria, South Africa. Former FIFA vice president Chung has called Blatter a "little brat" who dictatorially rules world football's governing body. Chung made the criticism in a memoir published in South Korea last week, titled "My Challenge, My Enthusiasm." Chung had been regarded as a leading candidate to succeed Blatter before being defeated in an Asian election for the FIFA vice-presidency early this year.

Michael Sohn, File, Associated Press

Enlarge photo»

SEOUL, South Korea — Former FIFA vice president Chung Mong-joon has called FIFA president Sepp Blatter a "little brat" who dictatorially rules world football's governing body.

Chung made the criticism in a memoir published in South Korea last week, titled "My Challenge, My Enthusiasm." Chung had been regarded as a leading candidate to succeed Blatter before being defeated in an Asian election for the FIFA vice-presidency early this year.

The book hits stores as Blatter prepares to present detailed anti-corruption reforms in October after a year of scandal that has rocked world football.

"President Blatter is fluent in five languages, has a good way with words and is intelligent ... but I think he is not an international gentleman and he is like a little brat," Chung said in the book.

Chung, who served as a FIFA vice president for 16 years, accused Blatter of trying to usurp the authority of FIFA's executive committee via his proposal to create an oversight, anti-corruption panel that could include former U.S. diplomat Henry Kissinger and opera singer Placido Domingo.

"(FIFA's) executive committee is an independent organ aimed at performing the roles of 'checks and balance' to prevent the president from going beyond his own authority. Blatter is now attempting to take away the power of the executive committee and neutralize any effort to check his power," Chung wrote. "It's a similar scheme that so many dictators have used in world history."

Chung also said that Blatter had unsuccessfully made a series of unrealistic, wild proposals, such as holding the World Cup every two years rather than every four and moving the goalposts to help allow more scores.

"Those proposals ... only triggered unnecessary friction and confusion," he wrote.

Blatter has long been a magnet for criticism, but the 75-year-old Swiss was elected unopposed earlier this year to a fourth term as FIFA president. His challenger Mohamed bin Hammam withdrew on the eve of the vote amid allegations that he tried to bribe Caribbean voters in his campaign to unseat Blatter.

The bribery scandal exiled FIFA vice president Jack Warner, and two other FIFA executive members, Amos Adamu and Reynald Temarii, were suspended last November after allegations of vote-trading in the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bid races.

Blatter told The Associated Press late last month that he will announce his reform agenda after an Oct. 20-21 meeting in Zurich with his executive committee colleagues.

Chung isn't the only one who has publicly criticized Blatter over his leadership style.

Last month, European Club Association chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge called on Blatter to introduce reforms in FIFA or risk the fate of toppled Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak. Blatter later said he had made peace with Rummenigge.

Chung, a senior South Korean lawmaker and billionaire businessman, had long headed the country's football association and was a key factor in helping South Korea land the right to co-host the 2002 World Cup with Japan. He is now eying a run for South Korean president next year.

Chung's late father Chung Ju-yung founded the Hyundai conglomerate — which is now a top-tier FIFA sponsor — and ran unsuccessfully for president of South Korea in 1992. The younger Chung was also a national presidential candidate in 2002.

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