August 12, 2015 / 2:40 AM / 2 years ago

Korea's Chung to formally launch FIFA bid in Paris

Former FIFA vice president Chung Mong-joon speaks during an interview with Reuters in Seoul, South Korea, July 30, 2015. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji

SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea’s Chung Mong-joon will formally launch his bid to become president of world soccer’s scandal-hit governing body FIFA on Aug. 17 in France, the home of rival Michel Platini.

Chung, a former FIFA vice president and fierce critic of outgoing president Sepp Blatter, told Reuters last month that he would enter the race and that he would make the announcement in Europe, what he called “the centre of world football”.

“Paris has been chosen as the venue for the announcement as it is the birthplace of FIFA and the campaign is focused on reviving the original spirit of football’s governing body,” Chung’s office told Reuters on Wednesday.

The 63-year-old billionaire scion of South Korea’s Hyundai industrial conglomerate is viewed as one of the favourites for the job but faces stiff competition from Frenchman Platini, the head of Europe’s governing body UEFA.

“On Monday, Aug. 17 at 10:00am (local time) at the Shangri-La Hotel in Paris, Dr. Chung Mong-joon, FIFA Honorary Vice President, will formally announce his candidacy for the upcoming FIFA presidential elections scheduled to take place on Feb. 26, 2016,” a statement from his office said on Wednesday.

It added that Chung would also hold a news conference to “set out his vision and roadmap for reforming FIFA”.

FIFA’s corruption troubles came to a head in May when U.S. prosecutors indicted nine soccer officials, most of whom had FIFA positions, and five marketing and broadcasting company executives over a range of alleged offences, including fraud, money-laundering and racketeering.

FIFA announced on Tuesday it had turned to the man who helped the International Olympic Committee out of their corruption crisis, appointing Swiss Francois Carrard as chairman of their reform committee. [ID:nL3N10M4Y9]

Blatter was re-elected for a fifth term as FIFA president on May 29, but four days later said he would lay down his mandate amid the world crisis in the body’s history. He will stay on until the election on Feb. 26.

Chung, who told Reuters in late July he was wary of Blatter trying to sabotage his campaign, has been travelling the world gathering support for his bid.

He said he received assurances of support from within CONCACAF on a recent trip to the United States and visited China last week to attend the East Asian Cup, a regional tournament involving the two Koreas, China and Japan.

CONCACAF is the ruling body for football in North and Central America and the Caribbean.

Chung, who headed the Korea Football Association from 1993 to 2009 - during which time South Korea co-hosted the World Cup finals with Japan - lost his seat on FIFA’s executive committee in 2011 to then-Blatter ally Prince Ali bin Al Hussein of Jordan.

Editing by Greg Stutchbury

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