A Record of My Struggle against FIFA

June 21, 2018
MJ Chung


For the past four years, I fought a long legal battle against FIFA.  Last February, the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) handed out its decision.  That is why I did not participate in international football events during this period.

When I recently visited Russia for the World Cup, friends asked me what had happened between FIFA and I.  I tried to explain as simply as possible, but rather than provide an oral explanation each time, I decided to write up a synopsis of my case against FIFA.

The following is not meant to be a criticism of anyone but rather the facts regarding my case that I wanted to share with my friends in football.

Four years ago, the FEC started its “investigation” against me.  Ever since then, I had to suffer through false-accusations, character assassinations, and interminable and unjustifiable delays.  Just as the FEC had intended, the time and energy that I had to devote to this case, as well as the emotional toll, has been enormous.

As this case dragged on, seemingly forever, I persevered to show that I did not commit the ethics violations that FEC alleged.

From my perspective, FIFA’s ethics investigation and subsequent sanctions were fundamentally flawed in terms of both procedure and substance.  The following is a synopsis of my case.  The source of most of the quotations is the CAS award.

Procedurally, the whole process was hopelessly and unreasonably delayed.  As the CAS award stated, I “had to serve a longer suspension than the Panel finds to be warranted” and that this was because of FIFA’s “excessive and unjustified delays.”

In fact, my sanctions lasted for 13 months longer than “warranted.”  In its February 2018 decision CAS reduced my sanctions from 5 years to 15 months and stated that the sanction against me had already expired as of January 2017.

The Chairman of the Adjudicatory Chamber of the FEC, Hans Joachim Eckert, and the Chairman of FIFA’s Appeal Committee, Larry Mussenden, were directly responsible for these delays.  Even though I repeatedly wrote them to send me their respective “Reasoned Decision” as soon as possible in order to appeal my case to CAS, they were inexcusably late. They owe me a public apology.

For them to announce the sanction against me first and then spend 7 months and 9 months, respectively, for a combined 16 months to send the basis for the sanction was “unconscionable.”  This is like a judge sentencing somebody to death and then announcing the grounds for the decision 16 months after the execution was carried out.  As the CAS arbitrators would later say in their award, “delays of magnitude displayed by FIFA in dealing with this sensitive case are not acceptable.  Justice delayed is justice denied.”

This was also in stark contrast to the speed with which Platini and Blatter received their Reasoned Decisions, only about a week after the Appeal Committee’s decisions.  At the Appeal Committee stage of the proceedings against Blatter, the Reasoned Decision was delivered just 8 days later.  Platini received the Reasoned Decision only 9 days after the Terms of Decision.  Clearly, these committees are capable of moving efficiently.  They simply chose not to do so in my case.

I do not know the internal workings of FIFA.  Can you think of another explanation?

In terms of substance, as far as I can see, FEC’s case against me should not have been brought about in the first place.

A year before the “investigation” started, Mr. Borbely, then-vice-chairman of the Investigatory Chamber, met with Dr. Han, the former Chairman of the Korea World Cup Bid Committee in March 2014 for an interview during which Mr. Borbely told Dr. Han, “There are no allegations against you or your team.”  Then, in January 2015, as I was preparing my campaign for FIFA Presidency, the FEC opened an investigation against me alleging that there was “prima facie” evidence that I had violated FIFA Code of Ethics.

However, as soon as the so-called “investigation” against me began, rumors became rampant that I was the target of an FEC investigation.

In July 2015, I attended the Women’s World Cup final in Vancouver.  When I arrived on Friday, July 3, the President MG Chung of Korea Football Association, who had arrived a couple of days earlier, told me something very disturbing.  Prior to my arrival in Vancouver, he had met with a FIFA Vice President.  At their meeting, the Vice President said that if I were to announce my candidacy for FIFA President in the then-upcoming election, the FEC would sanction me in order to prevent me from running.  When I met this Vice President at his hotel to confirm, he told me the same thing.  I told him I did not want to believe that FIFA could be that corrupt politically.

Three weeks later, from July 24-26, I was in Philadelphia for the Gold Cup finals.  At the time, I was travelling with Dr. Hahm, a colleague.  Dr. Hahm had lunch with a lawyer from the law firm that was representing CONCACAF.  During lunch, the lawyer told Dr. Hahm that he, too, had heard rumors that if I were to announce my candidacy for FIFA President, the FIFA Ethics Committee would sanction me to prevent me from running.

On July 30, a Reuters correspondent based in Seoul called Dr. Hahm to say that a fellow Reuters correspondent covering FIFA in Zurich told him that he and most of the reporters covering FIFA had heard rumors that FIFA Ethics Committee would sanction me to prevent me from running for FIFA Presidency.  He asked Dr. Hahm whether he could confirm this.

Then on August 1, as I arrived in Malaysia to campaign for FIFA presidency, an article appeared in Inside World Football, which alleged that “Usually reliable sources have alerted Inside World Football to the fact that Chung may be facing some ethics issues in a forthcoming Ethics Committee ruling which would potentially prevent him from running for the presidency.”

As was widely reported in the press at the time, Inside World Football was controlled by Peter Hargitay, a former special advisor to Blatter.  One such report said, “Hargitay now controls a peculiar online newsletter ‘Inside World Football’ based in Switzerland that appears to be part-funded by Sepp Blatter.  Hargitay writes a demented and often toxic column under the troll-name ‘Inside Insight.’”

Mr. Blatter himself admitted during a newspaper interview in December 2015 that he was the one that appointed the Ethics Committee:  “I put these people into the office, where they are now in the ethics committee.”

These were efforts to discredit me in the eyes of the public.  Stories were even published in media agencies such as Bloomberg News, alleging that I was being investigated for my charitable donations for earthquake victims in Haiti and flood victims in Pakistan. The 2010 earthquake in Haiti killed more than 300,000 people and displaced 1.5 million while the flood in Pakistan killed more than 1,000 and displaced 20 million.  That is why I donated USD 200,000 to Haiti and also USD 200,000 to Pakistan.  I have been making charitable donations to those in need, both in Korea and overseas, since the 1990s.  The yearly stipend that I received from FIFA as Vice President was donated to charity.  However, these stories tried to portray my philanthropy as bribery.

As for the so-called “ethics violations” that the FEC accused me of having violated were quite serious: “vote trading” and “giving the appearance of offering benefits.”  Allow me to elaborate in more detail.

As part of the “investigation,” the FEC sent me questions three times: sixty-nine questions on April 14, 2014, fifty questions on February 13, 2015, and nineteen more questions on March 17, 2015.  One of the questions it sent me in February 2015 was “Would it surprise you to learn that the Chairman of England 2018, Mr Geoff Thompson has admitted to agreeing to trade your vote for England 2018, in exchange for England’s vote for Korea 2022?”   While proven to be groundless, the FEC clearly thought that it had the critical piece of evidence against me.  And armed with this “evidence,” they were only too happy to launch an investigation against me.

The alleged “vote-trading” occurred when I met Mr. Geoff Thompson, the English ExCo member when together we paid a courtesy visit on Prince William at the Prince’s request in the Prince’s suite at Baur au Lac Hotel in Zurich on December 1, 2010.  This was one day before the vote for World Cup 2018 and 2022 venues.  As I distinctly recall, when I went to the Prince’s suite, Prime Minister Cameron was also there.  Dr. Lee Hong-Koo, former Prime Minister of Korea and Ambassador to Great Britain, was also present at the gathering.

In essence, the FEC was accusing me of having traded votes with Mr. Thompson in the company of Prince William and the Prime Minister Cameron of Great Britain the day before the vote.  I wrote FEC to ask if they were investigating Prince William and PM Cameron as well.

Moreover, according to the transcript of the interview between Mr. Thompson and Mr. Garcia, Mr. Thompson did not even remember whether Prince William was present when he and I and PM Cameron were allegedly making this deal.

On an even more comical note, the Investigatory Chamber sent me the transcript of the interview between Thompson and Garcia as an attachment to its first set of questions.  It was sent to me obviously because they thought this would be an incontrovertible “proof” of my complicity in the alleged vote-trade.  However, when I quoted them back from the same transcript questioning Mr. Thompson’s memory and pointing out how incoherent he was, they demanded to know how I had acquired a copy of the transcript!

There was yet another reason why a vote-trading deal with Britain would have made no sense.  In November 2010 in Kuala Lumpur, the seat of AFC, England’s bid team, headed by Mr. Jeremy Hunt, , England’s Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport, Chief Executive Andy Anson and Ambassador Paul Elliott as well as Mr. Thomson, gave a presentation on their bid for 2018 World Cup.   During a private conversation after their formal presentation, I asked the English bid committee members whether given their historical and political ties toward the U.S. or Australia, they would vote for one of these two countries for 2022.  They said “yes” without hesitation.

The charge of giving “the appearance of offering a benefit” was in reference to the letters I sent fellow FIFA ExCo members explaining Korea World Cup 2022 Bid Committee’s “Global Football Fund (GFF)” proposal.

The GFF was announced by the Chairman of the Korea World Cup Bid Committee, Dr. Han, at the “Leaders in Football” conference in London on 7 October 2010.  My letters to ExCo members were sent afterwards.  What I shared with them was information that was already fully public by the media such as the New York Times.

Moreover, there was nothing unusual about the GFF.  It was perfectly in line with the “Football Development” projects that FIFA required as part of all national bids.

Back in 1995, when Korea bid for World Cup 2002, a financial pledge of $300 million was included which was the projected profit from hosting the event.  Korea thought that hosting a World Cup was privilege enough.  The profits from the tournament could be shared among the global football community.

England’s bid team for the 2018 World Cup proposed a “Football United” fund which it described as, “a unique chance to create a new global fund for football that aims to match FIFA’s current spending on football development . . . imagine what this would mean for your Confederation.”

In its bid for World Cup 2022, Qatar proposed “grassroots and talent-scouting programmes in Thailand and Nigeria,” “support through football in 16 schools in Nepal and Pakistan,” and “construction of 22 modular stadiums for countries in need,” among other things.  England’s fund would have overwhelmed the GFF by many times.   Qatar’s projects surely will.

Unable to produce any evidence to back them up, the “vote-trading” allegation was dropped by the Investigatory Chamber and the “offering of benefits” allegation by the Adjudicatory Chamber.  Remember, these were the allegations that FEC used to start the investigation.  There was no substance to begin with.

However, rather than stopping the investigation and dropping the case altogether after realizing that the original allegations were groundless, the FEC dragged the case on by making frivolous charges. When it failed to hold up the allegation that I had given “an appearance of offering a benefit” by sending the letters to ExCo Members in 2010, it then made an issue out of the fact that I had sent those letters using the FIFA letterhead.  The FEC alleged that sending letters in my capacity as FIFA Vice President was inappropriate.

Even though that was the impression that the FEC tried to create, as a matter of fact, sending a letter using FIFA’s letterhead does not automatically make its content “approved” or “endorsed” by FIFA.  Blatter sent out innumerable letters using FIFA President’s letterhead.  That did not mean that the contents were “approved” or “endorsed” by FIFA.  In fact, using the FIFA letterhead for exchange of birthday and holiday wishes, as well as other felicitations was a widespread, well-established practice among ExCo Members.  This was like a bad joke.

For example, in October 2007, I sent a letter to fellow ExCo Members using the FIFA letterhead informing them that I had scored a “hole-in-one” during a round of golf.   ExCo Members sent me back congratulatory notes, some of them using official FIFA letterheads and some using other official football-related organizations’ letterheads.

When nothing else seemed to work, the FEC accused me of procedural violations that I allegedly committed in the course of the “investigation.”

When I wrote letters to Blatter protesting against the proceedings, the FEC informed me that it will be extending the “investigation” for a breach of “confidentiality.”  Even as the Adjudicatory Chamber acknowledged that “every official of FIFA has the right to write to the President if he feels that there is a problem that needs to be addressed,” it used the letters as an excuse to extend its “investigation” against me.  Later, CAS pointed out this contradiction in FEC’s argument and concluded, “the Appellant sought only to complain about what he believed in good faith to be an unfair and politically-motivated proceeding.”

In yet another futile attempt to incriminate me, FEC accused me of “defaming” it and recommended an additional 4-year sanction on top of the 15 years that it had already recommended for a combined sanction of 19 years !  It was referring to a proposal in a brochure that I had prepared for my FIFA presidential campaign of 2015.  It stated, “The heads of independent judicial committees should not be nominated by the President as they currently are, but by an “independent search committee.”  The FEC claimed that I was questioning their independence, thereby “defaming” it !

If this indeed constituted “defamation” as the FEC argued, Eckert, the head of the Adjudicatory Chamber was an interested party and should have recused himself from my case.  However, Eckert rejected my request that he recuse himself and proceeded to preside over my case.  The FEC and Eckert failed to adhere to even the most basic principle of a fair judicial process.

Such outrageous charges, however, could not be sustained.  Eventually, even the “breach of confidentiality” and “defamation” charges were dropped.  This was yet another clear indication that the investigation against me was “politically motivated.”

Still, the FEC accused me of “failure to cooperate” with the investigation and for being late in sending in my replies to the FEC.

At the time I was running in the ruling party’s primary to elect the candidate for Mayor of Seoul.  My schedule was consumed by the election campaign.  However, from April 2014, Korea was gripped by a major political and social crisis caused by a tragic ferry accident.  Most of the 304 victims of this tragedy were high school students on a field trip.   The nation came to a standstill.  As an active politician during this national tragedy, I could not find time for personal matters and was unable to attend to any other matter.

That was the reason that my replies to FEC’s 69 excruciatingly detailed questions were delayed by 15 days.  However, for this, the FEC imposed a 5-year sanction against me.

In its decision, CAS noted that “the Appellant’s negligible delay in providing the answers…. Must be juxtaposed with FIFA’s own delay in conducting the proceedings, which far exceeded it and had far greater implications.”  It also said, “The pot cannot fairly call the kettle black, especially when it itself is blacker.”

Here, I would like to turn your attention to the infamous ISL case as an illustration of how the FEC intentionally overlooked a case of blatant corruption within FIFA in stark contrast to its dogged pursuit of me.

In 1997, when Blatter was Secretary General of FIFA, he turned a blind eye to then-President João Havelange’s receiving bribes from International Sports and Leisure in exchange for World Cup TV rights.   ISL had made a 1.5 million Swiss francs transfer into FIFA’s bank account.   The designated recipient was Havelange.  This was a mistake on the part of ISL.  The fund, a bribe from ISL, should have been sent directly to Havelange, not to FIFA Secretary General Blatter.  However, rather than reporting this bribe or opening an investigation, Blatter simply returned the money to ISL.  Moreover, despite having prior knowledge of the impending bankruptcy of ISL, Blatter failed to inform the FIFA Executive Committee immediately and even “scaled down the extent of ISL bankruptcy’s impact on FIFA finances.”

One year later in 1998, Blatter ran for FIFA President and was elected with the full-backing of Havelange.  There were widespread reports of corruption on the part of Blatter.

The FEC did nothing about Blatter’s corruption despite a lengthy investigation by Swiss authorities and an avalanche of media reports.  The Swiss authorities raided FIFA headquarters in 2005 and continued its investigation into the ISL bribery case.  The investigation revealed that Blatter had known about a bribery check mistakenly made out to FIFA by ISL.  Swiss authorities revealed incriminating documents that proved that between 1992 and 2000, Havelange and Ricardo Teixeira had received tens of millions of dollars in bribes from ISL.   Despite the persistent effort on the part of Havelange and Blatter to hinder justice, the Swiss Supreme Court ordered these documents to be made public in 2012.

In 2013, one year after the conclusion of the Swiss authorities’ investigation, the FIFA Ethics Committee reluctantly started to look into the ISL bribery case.  However, the FIFA Ethics Committee exonerated Blatter, claiming that he was merely “clumsy.”

The contrast between the sheer magnitude of the ISL corruption and FEC’s brazen attempt to cover it up, on the one hand, and its effort to “investigate” me based on trumped-up charges and technicalities, on the other, could not be more glaring.

It is no wonder that during a U.S. Senate hearing on FIFA’s corruption in July 2015, Senator Richard Blumenthal said, “The fact of the matter is that what has been revealed so far is a mafia-style crime syndicate in charge of this sport.  My only hesitation in using that term is that it is almost insulting to the mafia because the mafia would never have been so blatant, overt, and arrogant in its corruption.”

In September 2015, The New York Times reported, “the word ‘FIFA’ coupled with the word ‘ethics’ is seen by most as an oxymoron.”

If I were to have been sanctioned for 5 years for sending letters to fellow ExCo members, how many years, in your view, should Blatter have been sanctioned for?

After the hearing in November 2017, CAS announced its award in February 2018.  In its award, CAS rejected almost all of FIFA’s arguments and lifted most of the sanctions saying that the sanctions against me were “evidently and grossly disproportionate.”  It reduced the original 5-year sanction to 15 months and said that my sanction had already expired as of January 2017.  CAS ordered FIFA to return the CHF 50,000 fine that it said was “unconscionable.”

The 19-year sanction that the FEC tried to impose on me was reduced to 15 months by CAS. CAS concluded that I could have cooperated more closely with investigators on occasion, but that none of these instances was a “major infraction.”

Because of FIFA’s delays and negligence, I was subjected to 13 extra-months of sanction.   FIFA should take moral responsibility for this.

FIFA’s injustice against me was perpetrated under the old FIFA of Blatter.  I only have best wishes for the new FIFA that can overcome Blatter’s dark legacy.

I wish that you can empathize with the painful ordeal that I had been subjected to by old FIFA.  I hope that you are glad that, in the end, CAS was able to find out the truth.

Despite the hardship that I had to endure because of old FIFA, my love and respect for the institution has never flagged.  I now hope to put this painful chapter in my relationship with FIFA behind.

This summary has turned out to be much longer than I had originally intended.  I was only trying to assist you in better understanding my case.  I thank you for your patience in reading this through.

Thank you very much.

나의 FIFA 투쟁 기록

축구를 사랑하고 성원해주시는 여러분들께 감사 드립니다.

지난 4년간 저는 국제축구연맹(FIFA)을 상대로 지리한 법정투쟁을 벌였고 금년 2월에는 국제스포츠중재재판소(CAS)의 판결을 받아냈습니다. 제가 그 동안 국제 축구 계에 모습을 드러내지 않았던 이유입니다. 이번에 러시아에 오니 많은 지인들이 지난 4년 동안 FIFA와 무슨 일이 있었냐고 물어보길래 별일 없었다고 대답은 했지만 매번 구두로 설명하는 것이 번거로워서 간략하게 그 과정을 정리해 봤습니다. 이는 결코 특정인물들을 비방할 목적이 아니라 사실만을 정확히 전달 드리기 위해서입니다.

4년 전, FIFA 윤리위원회(FEC)는 저에 대한 조사를 시작했습니다. 그 이후로 저는 허위사실에 기반한 인신공격, 계속되는 부당한 처리와 절차 지연으로 고통 받아야 했습니다. FEC가 의도한대로, 저는 이 일에 엄청난 시간과 에너지를 쏟아 부어야 했고, 몸과 마음이 많이 지쳤습니다.

FIFA와의 법정투쟁은 끝이 나지 않을 것처럼 오래 지속되었지만 제가 윤리 규정을 위반했다는 FEC의 주장이 얼마나 터무니 없는지를 보여 주기 위해 인내하고 버텨냈습니다.

FIFA윤리위의 조사와 그 이후의 제재 결정은 절차나 내용면에서 모두 근본적으로 잘못된 것이었습니다. 제 사건의 개요는 다음과 같습니다. 인용문으로 표시된 문구는 대부분 CAS 결정문을 인용한 것입니다.

절차적으로 봤을 때 이번 사건은 법리적으로든 상식적으로든 용납될 수 없을 정도로 지연되었습니다. CAS가 결정문에서 밝힌 바와 같이, 저는 “CAS 중재위원들(Panel)이 합당하다고 여긴 기간보다 더 긴 시간을 자격 정지 상태로 있어야만 했는데,” 이것은 FIFA의 “지나치고 부당한 지연(excessive and unjustified delays)” 때문이었습니다.

사실, 저는 “합당한(warranted)” 기간보다 13개월이나 더 제재를 받아야 했습니다. CAS는 2018년 2월 결정에서 FIFA가 가한 5년의 제재 기간을 1년 3개월로 줄이면서 제재가 2017년1월7일로 이미 만료되었다고 밝혔습니다.

FEC 심판국장 한스 에커트와 FIFA 항소위원회의 위원장 래리 무센든은 이 같은 지연에 대해 직접적인 책임이 있습니다. 저는 CAS에 중재를 요청하기 위해 가능한 한 빨리 “결정 이유서(Reasoned Decision)”를 보내 달라고 이들에게 수 차례 편지로 요청했지만, 도저히 납득할 수 없을 정도로 늦게서야 결정 이유서를 보내줬습니다. 에커트와 무센든은 공개적으로 저에게 사과를 해야 합니다.

이들은 저에 대한 제재 결정을 먼저 통보하고, 7개월 후에나 결정 이유서를 보내왔습니다. 그 후 항소 결정 이유서는 9개월 후에나 받을 수 있었습니다. 제재의 근거를 보내주는 데 도합 16개월이나 걸린 것입니다. CAS 중재위원들의 말대로  “비양심적인(unconscionable)” 처사였습니다. 이는 마치 판사가 사형선고를 내리고 이미 사형이 집행된 16개월 후에야 사형선고의 근거를 발표하는 것과 다를 바 없습니다. CAS 중재위원들은 결정문에서 “FIFA가 이 민감한 사안의 처리를 이렇게 오래 지체한 것은 용납할 수 없는 일이다. 지체된 정의는 정의가 아니다.”라고 말했습니다.

플라티니와 블래터의 경우는 제 경우와 극명하게 대비됩니다. 이들은 항소위원회의 결정 이후 약 일주일 만에 결정 이유서를 받았습니다. 블래터는 항소위원회 단계에 있을 때 결정 이유서를 불과 8일만에 받았습니다. 플라티니도 9 일만에 결정 이유서를 받았습니다. FIFA의 위원회는 자신들이 원하면 얼마든지 효율적으로 돌아갈 수 있는 기구입니다. 다만 제 경우만 의도적으로 예외로 삼았던 것입니다.

FIFA 내부가 정확히 어떻게 움직이는지는 모르겠습니다만 달리 이해할 방법이 있을까요?

내용면에서 봤을 때도 FEC가 애초에 저에 대한 혐의를 제기한 것부터가 잘못된 것입니다.

저에 대한 “조사”가 시작되기 1년 전인 2014년 3월 FIFA 윤리위의 보벨리 부위원장은 한승주 한국 월드컵 유치위원회 위원장을 만나 “당신이나 당신의 팀에 대해 아무런 혐의도 없다”고 말했습니다. 그러나 2015년 1월, 제가 FIFA 회장 선거를 준비하고 있을 때, FEC는 저에게 FIFA의 윤리 규정을 심각하게 위반한 “명백한(prima facie)” 증거가 있다고 주장하면서 조사를 시작했습니다.

그러나 “조사”라는 것이 시작되자마자 조사의 타깃이 저라는 소문이 퍼지기 시작했습니다.

2015년 7월, 저는 벤쿠버에서 열린 여자 월드컵 결승전을 보러 갔습니다. 제가 7월 3일 금요일에 도착하자, 저보다 이틀 먼저 와 있던 정몽규 대한축구협회 회장이 매우 충격적인 이야기를 전해주었습니다. 제가 벤쿠버에 오기 전, 정회장이 FIFA의 부회장 한 명을 만났는데, 그 부회장이 말하기를 만약 제가 FIFA 회장 후보에 출마하면, FEC가 저를 저지하기 위해 제재를 가할 것이라고 했다는 것입니다. 제가 사실여부를 확인하려고 그 부회장을 만났는데, 그는 저에게 동일한 얘기를 해주었습니다. 저는 FIFA가 그렇게까지 정치적으로 부패했다고 믿고 싶지 않다고 했습니다.

3주 후, 7월 24 일부터 26일까지, 저는 골드컵 결승전을 보기 위해 필라델피아에 있었습니다. 그 당시 함재봉 박사도 동행했는데, 함박사는 CONCACAF(북중미카리브축구연맹)를 대표하는 로펌의 변호사와 점심을 한 이후에 같은 이야기를 저에게 전해주었습니다. 변호사 역시 제가 FIFA 회장 후보로 나오면, FEC가 저에게 제제를 가할 것이라는 소문을 들었다고 함박사에게 말했습니다.

7월 30일, 로이터 통신의 서울 특파원은 함박사에게 전화해서 취리히에서 FIFA를 취재하는 대부분의 기자들이 FEC가 제가 FIFA 회장에 출마하는 것을 막기 위해서 제재를 가하려 한다는 소문을 들었다는데 함박사가 이 부분을 확인해 줄 수 있는지 물었습니다.

그러던 중 8월 1일, 제가 FIFA회장 선거를 위하여 말레이시아에 도착한 날 Inside World Football에 저에 대한 기사가 실렸습니다. “대체로 믿을만한 소식통에 의하면, 정 부회장은 앞으로 내려질 FEC 결정에서 몇 가지 윤리 규정 위반 문제에 직면할 것이고, 아마도 이 문제들이 정 부회장이 FIFA 회장 선거에 출마하는 것을 막게 될 것이다.”라는 내용의 기사였습니다.

당시 언론에 널리 알려진 바와 같이, Inside World Football은 블래터의 전 특별 고문이었던 홍보 컨설턴트 피터 하지테이가 운영하고 있었습니다. 한 보도는 “하지테이가 이제 제프 블래터가 부분적으로 지원하는 스위스의 이상한 온라인 뉴스 매체 Inside World Football을 장악했다. 하지테이는 ‘Inside Insight’라는 이름으로 말도 안 되는, 때로는 매우 해로운 칼럼을 써대고 있다.”라고 밝혔습니다.

블래터 자신도 2015년 12월 한 언론과의 인터뷰에서 “지금 윤리위원회에 있는 사람들은 내가 모두 거기에 집어 넣었다”고 고백하였습니다.

저의 평판을 깎아 내리려는 시도는 계속되었습니다. 블룸버그 뉴스와 같은 언론 매체에 제가 과거에 아이티의 지진 피해자들과 파키스탄의 홍수 피해자들을 위해 기부한 것에 문제가 있어서 조사를 받고 있다는 허위 기사들이 실렸습니다. 2010년 지진으로 아이티에서는 30만 명이 넘는 사람들이 사망하였고, 150만 명이 삶의 터전을 잃었습니다. 파키스탄에서는 홍수로 1000명 이상이 사망하였고, 2000만 명의 이재민이 발생하였습니다. 피해 복구를 위해 저는 아이티에 20만 달러를 기부하였고, 파키스탄에도 20만 달러를 기부하였습니다. 1990년대부터 저는 국내외에 도움이 필요한 사람들을 위해 꾸준히 기부를 해왔습니다. 제가 FIFA 부회장으로서 받은 연봉도 자선 단체에 기부했습니다. 그러나 언론 보도들은 저의 기부를 뇌물인 양 몰아갔습니다. 이 보도들은 저를 흠집내기 위해서 “정치적인 의도”로 언론에 흘린 정보를 그대로 반영했습니다.

FEC가 저에 대하여 제기한 소위 “윤리 규정 위반”은 ‘투표 담합(vote trading)’이나 ‘이익 제공(appearance of offering benefits)’과 같이 상당히 심각한 혐의였습니다. 좀 더 자세히 설명하도록 하겠습니다.

FEC는 “조사”의 일환으로 저에게 세 차례에 걸쳐 질문을 보냈습니다. 2014년 4월 14일에는 69개 항목, 2015년 2월 13일에는 50개 항목, 2015년 3월 17일에는 19개 항목의 질문을 보냈습니다. 2015년 2월 저에게 보낸 질문 중 하나는 “영국의 2018월드컵 유치위원장이었던 톰슨이 당신이 2018년 개최국으로 영국에 투표해주면 영국이 2022년 유치국으로 한국을 찍겠다고 ‘투표 담합’을 인정하였는데 톰슨의 진술로 사실이 밝혀져 당신은 놀라지 않았는가?”라는 질문이었습니다. 근거 없는 것으로 밝혀졌지만, 당시 FEC는 분명 저에 대한 결정적인 증거를 잡았다고 생각했을 것입니다. 그리고 이 “증거”를 가지고 저에 대한 조사를 시작했습니다.

이들이 주장한 소위 ‘투표 담합’은 2010년 12월 1일, 제가 영국 집행위원 제프 톰슨과 함께 영국의 윌리엄 왕자의 초청으로 취리히의 보르 오 락(Baur Au Lac) 호텔에 있는 왕자의 스위트 룸을 찾아가 함께 만난 자리에서 이루어졌다는 것입니다. 이날은 2018/2022 월드컵 개최지 결정 바로 하루 전날이었습니다. 제가 분명히 기억하기로, 그 호텔방에는 캐머런 영국 총리도 있었습니다.  주영 대사를 지낸 이홍구 전 총리도 함께 자리에 있었습니다.

요컨대, FEC의 주장은 제가 투표 하루 전날 윌리엄 왕자와 캐머런 영국 총리를 만난 자리에서 톰슨과 ‘투표 담합’을 했다는 것이었습니다. 저는 FEC에 윌리엄 왕자와 캐머런 총리도 투표담합 혐의로 조사하는지를 물었습니다.

더욱이, 마이클 가르시아 당시 윤리위원장과 톰슨 간의 대화록에 의하면, 톰슨은 저와 본인, 캐머런 총리가 ‘투표담함’에 합의했다고 주장한 바로 그 자리에 정작 윌리엄 왕자가 있었는지는 기억하지 못한다고 말했습니다.

더 어처구니 없는 점은 이것입니다. FEC 조사국은 톰슨과 가르시아의 대화록을 첫 번째 질문 문항들에 대한 첨부 자료로 저한테 보내왔습니다. 그들은 이것이 투표 담합에 대해 반박의 여지가 없는 확실한 증거라고 생각하고 저에게 보냈을 것입니다. 하지만 제가 대화록의 같은 부분을 인용하여, 톰슨의 기억에 의문을 제기하고, 일관성이 없다고 지적을 하자 그들은 제가 대화록을 어떻게 입수했느냐고 오히려 저에게 물어 왔습니다!

제가 영국과 투표 담합을 했다는 것이 터무니 없는 주장이라는 것을 입증할 또 다른 근거가 있습니다. 2010년 11월 아시아축구연맹(AFC) 본부가 있는 쿠알라룸푸르에서 제레미 헌트 영국 문화부장관, 앤디 앤슨 영국 유치위원회 위원장, 폴 엘리엇 영국 대사, 톰슨 등으로 꾸려진 영국 월드컵 유치위원회 팀이 2018년 월드컵 유치를 위한 프리젠테이션을 했습니다. 공식적인 발표를 마친 뒤 사적으로 대화를 나누면서 저는 영국 유치위원회 위원들에게 미국이나 호주와의 역사적, 정치적 유대 관계를 감안해서 영국은 2022년 월드컵 개최지로 한국보다는 미국이나 호주에 투표하지 않겠냐고 물었습니다. 그들은 주저 없이 그렇다고 말했습니다.

“이익 제공”에 대한 FIFA의 주장은 제가 한국 2022월드컵 유치위원회의 “국제축구기금(GFF)” 제안을 설명하는 편지를 동료 FIFA 집행위원들에게 보낸 것이 문제라는 것이었습니다.

2010년 10월 한승주 당시 한국 유치위원장은 런던에서 기자회견을 열고 국제축구기금(GFF) 공약을 발표했습니다. 저는 그 이후에 동료 집행위원들에게 편지를 보냈습니다. 제가 편지에 쓴 내용은 이미 New York Times와 같은 언론사 보도를 통해 충분히 공개된 내용이었습니다.

뿐만 아니라, GFF는 전혀 특별한 것이 아니었습니다. FIFA가 모든 유치 신청국에 요구하는 “축구 발전” 프로그램에 맞추어 제안한 것이었습니다.

1995년 한국이 2002년 월드컵을 유치할 당시에도 이러한 맥락에서, 월드컵 예상 수익 3억달러를 FIFA에 발전 기금으로 내놓을 것을 약속했던 바 있습니다. 한국은 월드컵을 개최한다는 자체만도 이미 충분한 영광이라고 생각했고, 따라서 월드컵 경기를 통한 수익을 세계 축구 공동체와 함께 나누고자 했던 것입니다.

영국의 2018월드컵 유치위는 ‘Football United’ 기금을 제안하면서 이렇게 설명했습니다. “현재 FIFA가 축구 발전을 위해 쓰는 재정규모에 필적하는 새로운 기금을 만들 수 있는 특별한 기회…이것이 당신의 대륙연맹에 의미하는 바를 상상해 보라.”

2022년 월드컵 유치를 신청한 카타르는 “태국과 나이지리아의 축구 풀뿌리 및 영재 발굴 프로그램”,  “네팔과 파키스탄의 16개 학교에 축구를 통한 지원”,  “어려운 나라에 22개의 모듈화 스타디엄 건설” 등을 제안했습니다. 영국의 기금 규모는 GFF의 몇 배는 됐을 것입니다. 카타르의 계획도 실현되면 물론 마찬가지일 것입니다.

“투표 담합”이나 “이익 제공”을 입증할 아무런 단서도, 논리도 찾지 못하자 “투표 담합” 혐의는 조사국에서 철회되었고, “이익 제공” 혐의는 심판국에서 철회되었습니다. 이것은 FEC가 조사를 할 때 쓰는 전형적인 수법입니다. 아무런 실체도 없이 일단 조사를 시작하는 것이지요.

하지만 FEC는 애초부터 근거 없는 잘못된 주장이었다는 사실을 받아들이고 수사를 중단하고 사건을 일괄 종결하기는커녕 다른 지엽적인 문제들을 물고 늘어졌습니다. FEC는 2010년 집행위원들에게 보낸 편지가 ‘이익 제공’에 해당된다고 몰아가려다 실패하자, FIFA 편지용지를 사용한 것을 문제 삼았습니다. FIFA 부회장 자격으로 한국에 대한 지지를 요청하는 편지를 쓴 것이 부적절했다는 것입니다.

FEC가 주장하는 것처럼, FIFA의 편지용지를 사용해 편지를 보낸다고 해서 FIFA가 자동으로 편지 내용을 “승인”하거나 “보증”하는 것은 아닙니다. 블래터는 FIFA회장용 편지용지를 사용해서 수많은 편지를 보냈습니다. 하지만 FIFA가 그 내용을 “승인”하거나 “보증”한다는 것을 의미하지는 않았습니다. 사실 FIFA 편지용지를 사용하여 생일, 휴가 및 여러 행사에 대한 축하 메시지를 주고 받는 것은 집행위원들 사이에서 널리 퍼져있는 관행입니다. 이것을 문제 삼는 것은 어불성설입니다.

예를 들어, 2007년 10월 4일에 저는 FIFA 편지용지를 사용하여 동료 집행위원들께 골프 라운드 중 “홀인원”을 기록했다는 편지를 보냈습니다. 집행위원들은 나에게 축하 편지를 보내 왔는데, 그 중 일부 위원들은 공식 FIFA 편지용지를 사용했고, 일부는 대륙연맹의 공식 편지용지를 사용했습니다.

FEC는 별 효과가 없어 보이자, 이번엔 “조사” 과정에서 제가 절차 위반을 했다는 트집을 잡았습니다.

제가 블래터에게 조사의 부당함에 항의하는 편지를 쓰자, FEC는 저에게 “비밀 준수” 위반으로 “조사”를 계속할 것이라고 전했습니다. 심판국은 결정 이유서에 “FIFA의 모든 임직원은 문제가 있다고 느끼면 회장에게 편지를 쓸 권리가 있다. (Every official of FIFA has the right to write to the President if he feels that there is a problem that needs to be addressed.)”라고 밝히면서도 제가 블래터에게 보낸 편지들을 문제 삼아 “조사”를 연장했습니다. 이후, CAS는 FEC 주장의 모순을 지적하면서 “신청인(Appellant)은 자신이 보기에 부당하고 정치적 의도가 있다고 생각되는 절차에 대해 이의를 제기하려고 했을 뿐”이라고 결론 내렸습니다.

저를 끌어내리기 위한 FEC의 허망한 시도는 계속 되었습니다. 저에 대해 당초 15년 제재를 구형했던 FEC는 명예훼손을 이유로 4년 제재를 추가 구형했습니다. 모두 19년 제재를 구형한 것입니다! 제가 FIFA회장 출마를 선언하면서 “윤리위원장 후보를 FIFA회장의 추천(nomination)이 아니라 독립된 별도의 위원회에서 추천토록 하자”는 제안을 선거홍보물에 게재했더니 윤리위의 명예를 훼손했다는 것입니다.

만일 이것이 FEC의 주장처럼 “명예 훼손”에 해당된다면, 에커트 심판국장은 이 사안의 직접적인 이해 당사자가 되는 것이고, 결정에 참여해서는 안되었습니다. 그러나 에커트는 저의 제척 요청을 무시한 채 1심을 주재했습니다. FEC와 에커트는 공정한 사법 절차의 가장 기본적인 원칙도 지키지 못했습니다.

그러나 FEC도 이처럼 터무니 없는 혐의들을 계속 우길 수는 없었습니다. 결국 “비밀 준수 위반”과 “명예 훼손”혐의는 모두 취하되었습니다. 이것은 저에 대한 조사가 “정치적 동기”에서 이루어졌다는 것을 보여주는 또 하나의 명백한 증거이기도 합니다.

그럼에도 불구하고 FEC는 제가 조사에 “비협조적”(failure to cooprate)이었고, FEC에 답변을 늦게 보냈다면서 문제를 삼았습니다.

당시 저는 새누리당 서울시장 후보로 출마하여 치열한 경선과 본선을 치르고 있었습니다. 그러나 2014년 4월, 비극적인 세월호 침몰 사고로 인해 한국은 정치적, 사회적 공황상태에 빠졌습니다. 304명의 희생자 중 대부분은 수학여행을 가던 고등학생들이었습니다. 국가적 비극 사태 속에서 개인적인 문제에 신경 쓸 겨를이 없었습니다.

이것이 제가 FEC가 보낸 69개의 매우 상세한 질문에 대한 답변을 기한보다 15일 늦게 제출할 수 밖에 없었던 이유였습니다. 그러나, FEC는 답변이 늦었다는 이유로 저에게 5년의 제재를 가했습니다.

CAS는 결정문에서 “정 전 부회장이 서면 답변 기한을 약간 넘긴 것은 그보다 훨씬 오랜 기간 동안 이토록 중요한 절차를 지연시킨 FIFA에 비하면 아무것도 아니다”라면서 “이는 똥 묻은 개가 겨 묻은 개 나무라는 격(The pot cannot fairly call the kettle black, especially when it itself is blacker)”이라고 밝혔습니다.

여기서 잠시 악명 높은 ISL사건에 대해 말씀 드릴까 합니다. ISL사건은 FEC가 어떻게 고의적으로 FIFA내부의 노골적인 부패 사건을 덮으려고 했는지를 보여 주는 사례입니다.

1997년, 블래터가 사무총장으로 있을 당시, 주앙 아벨란제 회장이 인터내셔널 스포츠 앤드 레저(ISL)로부터 월드컵 마케팅 권리와 TV 중계권 판매 권리를 부여하는 대가로 뇌물을 받았는데, 블래터는 이를 눈감아 주었습니다. ISL은 150만 스위스 프랑을 FIFA의 은행 계좌로 이체했고, 수신인은 아발란제였습니다. 이것은 ISL측의 실수였습니다. ISL로부터 받은 뇌물인 이 돈은 FIFA사무 총장인 블래터가 아닌 아발란제에게 직접 보냈어야 했습니다. 그러나, 블래터는 이 뇌물을 신고하거나 조사를 시작하는 대신, 돈을 그저 ISL에 돌려주기만 했습니다. 게다가, ISL의 임박한 파산에 대해 사전에 알고 있었음에도 불구하고 블래터는 FIFA 집행위원회에 이를 즉시 알리지 않았고 심지어 “ISL의 파산이 FIFA재정에 미칠 영향의 정도와 범위를 축소하기까지 하였습니다.”

1년 후인 1998년에, 블래터는 FIFA회장으로 출마하였고 아벨란제의 전폭적인 지지로 당선되었습니다. 선거 당시 블래터 측의 선거부정에 대한 수많은 언론 보도가 있었습니다.

그러나 FEC는 언론보도와 스위스 사법당국의 조사에도 불구하고 블래터에 대한 아무런 조치도 취하지 않았습니다. 스위스 사법당국은 2005년 FIFA 본부를 압수수색하고 ISL뇌물사건과 관련하여 계속하여 수사하였습니다. 수사 결과 블래터 사무총장이 ISL로부터 FIFA에 잘못 입금된 뇌물에 대해 알고 있었다는 사실이 밝혀졌습니다. 스위스 당국은 수사과정에서 아벨란제와 그의 사위, 테세이라 브라질 축구협회장이 1992년부터 2000년 사이에 ISL로부터 수천만 불의 뇌물을 받았다는 증거를 확보하게 됩니다. 아벨란제와 블패터 측의 집요한 방해가 있었지만, 스위스 대법원은 2012년 이 문서들을 공개하도록 결정했습니다.

2013년, 스위스 사법당국의 수사가 종결된 지 1년 후에야 FEC는 마지못해 ISL 뇌물 사건에 대한 조사를 시작했습니다. 그러나 FEC는 블래터가 “서툴렀다(clumsy)”는 결론을 내며, 부패에 대한 블래터의 책임을 면해주었습니다.

ISL의 엄청난 뇌물사건을 뻔뻔하게 덮으려 하는 FEC의 시도와 날조된 혐의와 사소한 문제로 저에 대한 조사를 진행하는 FEC의 모습은 너무도 확연하게 대비됩니다.

2015년 7월에 열린 미 상원 청문회에서, 리차드 블루멘탈 상원의원이 다음과 같이 말했습니다: “지금까지 드러난 것만 봐도 이번 사건은 스포츠계에서 벌어진 마피아 스타일의 조직적인 범죄입니다. 다만 FIFA를 마피아에 비유하는 것을 주저하게 되는 단 한가지 이유는 그런 비유는 오히려 마피아를 모욕하는 것이기 때문입니다. 마피아도 이렇게 노골적이고 뻔뻔하게 부패를 저지르지는 않습니다.”

2015년 9월, New York Times는 FEC에 대해서 “‘FIFA’와 ‘윤리(ethics)’라는 단어는 가장 큰 모순(oxymoron)”이라고 비판하기도 하였습니다.

제가 동료 집행위원들에게 편지를 보냈다는 이유로 5년의 제재를 받았다면 블래터는 얼마나 더 긴 제재를 받아 마땅할까요?

2017년 11월 공판 이후 CAS는 2018년 2월 판결을 내렸습니다. 판결문에서 CAS는 FIFA의 주장을 거의 다 기각하고, 저에 대해서 가해졌던 제재들이 “명백하게 그리고 극도로 균형감각을 상실한 것(evidently and grossly disproportionate)”이라고 밝혔습니다.  5년의 제재를 15개월로 줄였고, 이미 2017년 1월부로 저에 대한 제재가 종료되었다고 하였습니다. FIFA가 “비양심적으로” 저에게 부과한 벌금 5만 스위스 프랑도 취소했습니다.

FEC의 조사국이 저에게 19년의 제재를 부과하려고 했으나, CAS에 의해 15개월로 경감되었습니다. 물론 CAS는 제가 조사관들과 좀 더 긴밀하게 협력할 수도 있었을 것이라고 했지만, 그렇지 않았다고 해서 “결정적인 문제(major infraction)”가 되는 것은 아니라고 밝혔습니다.

FIFA의 태만과 지연 행동으로 저는 13개월이나 추가로 제재를 받아야 했습니다. FIFA는 이에 대해 윤리적 책임을 져야 할 것입니다.

저에 대한 FIFA의 부당한 행위들은 블래터가 이끈 낡은 FIFA 속에서 자행된 것들입니다. 저는 FIFA가 블래터의 어두운 유산을 청산하고 새로운 FIFA로 거듭나기를 바랄 뿐입니다.

과거의 FIFA 때문에 고통 받았던 저의 시련을 조금이나마 이해해주시면 감사하겠습니다. 그리고 CAS가 진실을 밝혀낸 것을 저와 함께 기뻐해주시기 바랍니다.

낡은 FIFA때문에 고통 받았지만, FIFA에 대한 저의 존경과 애정은 변함이 없습니다. 이제 고통의 기억들을 뒤로 접어두려 합니다.

제 사건을 보다 명확히 설명하려다 보니 생각했던 것보다 글이 길어졌습니다.

긴 글을 읽어주셔서 감사합니다.



정 몽 준


February 10, 2018

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), in a decision issued on 9 February (Swiss time), has ended the ban imposed by FIFA on Dr. Mong Joon Chung and also vacated a CHF 50,000 fine saying that FIFA’s financial penalty was “unconscionable.”  As such, Dr. Chung is “free to take part in any football related activity (administrative, sport or any other) at national and international level.”

CAS reduced the 5 year ban that FIFA had imposed on Dr. Chung to 15 months and also found that the ban had already expired as of January 7, 2017.  CAS made it clear that it was because of FIFA’s “excessive and unjustified delays” that Dr. Chung “had to serve a longer suspension than the Panel finds to be warranted.”

Dr. Chung expressed regret that CAS did not fully nullify FIFA’s sanctions, saying “the past 4 years was a painful period in which my honor was violated.”   Still he vowed, “I will do my part in helping FIFA regain the love and respect of football fans around the world.

Starting in 2014, the FIFA Ethics Committee had opened their investigation alleging that former Vice President Chung had engaged in “vote trading” and that he had given the “appearance of offering benefits.”  However, unable to produce any evidence, the accusations were dropped at the very beginning of the so-called investigation.

But rather than dropping the case altogether, the FIFA Ethics Committee then took issue with former Vice President Chung having sent letters explaining Korea’s Global Football Fund (GFF) to his fellow Executive Committee members during the bid for World Cup 2022.  It charged that Dr. Chung “failed to cooperate” with the investigation and that he sent in his answers late.  For this, they imposed a five-year ban.  During this appeal process, the FIFA continually delayed submitting the documents that Dr. Chung needed to appeal his case to CAS, delaying his appeal by more than a year-and-a-half.

In its decision, CAS said that “the Appellant’s negligible delay in providing the answers… must be juxtaposed with FIFA’s own delay in conducting the proceedings, which far exceeded it and had far greater implications.”  It went on to say “The pot cannot fairly call the kettle black, especially when it itself is blacker.”

CAS also said that FIFA had tried to impose punishments that were “evidently and grossly disproportionate.”

As for FIFA taking issue with Dr. Chung having sent letters to President Blatter during the investigation, CAS said “The panel considers that the Appellant sought only to complain about what he believed in good faith to be an unfair and politically-motivated proceeding.”

In its ruling, CAS took special note of Dr. Chung’s longstanding “public stance against corruption within FIFA” and “the meritorious services he provided to FIFA and football over the years.”  It vacated FIFA’s ruling that Dr. Chung had improperly objected to the investigation of his conduct, and rejected several grounds on which FIFA accused him of failing to cooperate with investigators.

CAS did rule, however, that two sentences in Dr. Chung’s letter to co-members of the FIFA Executive Committee promoting South Korea’s World Cup 2022 bid were inappropriate because they were not included in the public versions.  Nevertheless, CAS specifically found that Dr. Chung “subjectively did not believe that he was engaging in unethical conduct.”

CAS also concluded that Dr. Chung could have cooperated more closely with investigators on occasion, but that none of these instances was a “major infraction.”

Dr. Chung said, “From the start, I had steadfastly maintained that the whole process was a plot of former FIFA President Sepp Blatter, designed to keep me from FIFA.”  He said that it is regrettable that “even while noting my views that FIFA’s investigation was an ‘unfair and politically-motivated’ as well as intentionally delayed proceeding, CAS arbitrators nevertheless did not review the case on that basis.


[보도자료] CAS, 정몽준 전 FIFA 부회장 제재 해제(2018.02.10)

Appeal to CAS as a Spur for FIFA Reform(2017.04.06)

Dr. MJ Chung
April 6, 2017

Despite FIFA’s attempt at reform under a new leadership, I am disappointed to see that the FIFA Ethics Committee still behaves as if they are Blatter’s “hitmen.”

With the inauguration of a new president, I remain hopeful that FIFA will transform itself into a respectable international organization.  However, when one looks at the key members of the Ethics Committee and the Appeal Committee who were put there by Blatter, I realize that this is not the end of FIFA reform, but only the beginning.  Fighting FIFA’s ban is not about restoring my personal honor.  I believe that it is the duty of someone who loves football and who served as FIFA Vice President for 17 years.  I will seek all means possible to fight this, including an appeal to CAS.

On March 24, 2017, the FIFA Appeal Committee sent me its “reasoned decision.”  It had been nearly 9 months since the Committee informed me on July 5, 2016 that it was imposing a five-year ban on me.  In order to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), the final arbiter of sports-related disputes, I had to receive the “reasoned decision.”  Even though I had written the Committee in person in November 2016, asking for the “reasoned decision” as soon as possible, the Committee had refused without offering any reason until now.  After the Ethics Committee took six months to send me its “reasoned decision,” I could finally prepare to file an appeal to CAS, some 18 months after the original ban was imposed.  This is akin to a court carrying out the execution of the defendant, then sending out the ruling 18 months later.  This is malicious behavior.

In contrast, it took only 2 months for former FIFA President Sepp Blatter and former UEFA President Michel Platini to receive their Appeal Committee’s “reasoned decisions” after the December 2015 decision by the Adjudicatory Committee.  Thus, they were able to take their cases to CAS soon thereafter.

The FIFA Ethics and Appeal Committees started investigating me with allegations of “vote trading” and “appearance of offering benefits.”  However, when none of them would hold, they started to pick on technical and procedural issues such as my use of FIFA letterhead, or not cooperating with the investigation. The Ethics and Appeal Committees allege that I violated is number 13, the “General Rules of Conduct,” which includes provisions such as the “ethical attitude” and the “complete credibility.”  If they are such sticklers for rules of conduct, ethics and credibility, how is it that it took them so long to send me their “reasoned decision,” such that I am only able to proceed with my appeal to CAS 18 months after their initial ban?  As the saying goes, “Justice delayed is justice denied.”  Dragging out their case against me for so long is in itself unethical.

In October 2015, the FIFA Ethics Committee imposed a 6 year-ban on me.  The FIFA Appeal Committee accepted parts of my defense but still handed me a ban of five years, maintaining arguments very much in line with the original decision.

The FIFA’s Ethics Committee started its investigation and the Appeal Committee conducted its review, and made grand allegations which they dropped when I refuted them.  However, they then proceeded to accuse me of violating secondary issues.  It is as if they had already made up their mind to ban me and were looking to find an excuse to do so.

The period since October 2015, when the Ethics Committee unfairly banned me for six years from all football-related activities, has been a difficult time for me.  Although I plan to rectify FIFA’s past wrongs through legal means, a-year-and-a-half has already gone by and more time will elapse by the time CAS reaches its final verdict.  As such, there is not much for me to gain personally by pursuing this route.  However, I am committed to continuing my fight against FIFA’s old ways.  I firmly believe that it will contribute to FIFA’s new beginning.

Ever since I was first elected as a FIFA Vice President in 1994, I called for FIFA’s reforms, and for this, I became the target of reprisals by those working for Mr. Blatter.  When President Blatter’s “hitmen” in the FIFA Ethics Committee realized that their initial charges would not hold up, they banned me for six years on technicalities that arose during the investigation such as “violation of the duty of cooperation.”  This is akin to falsely accusing an innocent man of a crime and then arresting him for “obstruction of justice” for trying to defend himself.

Members of FIFA’s Ethics Committee and the Appeal Committee are still composed of individuals appointed by Mr. Blatter.  In October 2015, Mr. Blatter himself admitted in an interview with the Russian news agency TASS, that “I put these people into the office, where they are now in the ethics committee.”

The New York Times has ridiculed the FIFA Ethics Committee, asserting that “the word ‘FIFA’ coupled with the word ‘ethics’ is seen by most as an oxymoron.”  During a U.S. Senate subcommittee hearing in July 2015, Senator Richard Blumenthal described FIFA as “a mafia-style crime syndicate in charge of this sport,” and added, “It is almost insulting to the mafia because the mafia would never have been so blatant, overt and arrogant in its corruption.”  During the same hearing, Andrew Jennings, the author of Foul, who helped unearth FIFA’s corruption, labeled the Ethics Committee as “Blatter’s hitmen.”  In her ruling in December 2006, Judge Loretta A. Preska of the New York district court who presided over FIFA’s VISA-MasterCard scandal mentioned the word “lie” 13 times in reference to FIFA and denounced it by saying that FIFA “violated the heightened obligation of good faith imposed by the applicable Swiss law, as well as FIFA’s own notion of fair play.”

The FIFA Ethics Committee has done nothing to counter such blistering criticism from the media, a U.S. Senator, and a judge.  If it is indeed as independent and full of integrity as it claims to be, it should not, for the sake of football fans around the world, tolerate such insults.  In contrast, the FIFA Ethics Committee has been relentless in seeking revenge against someone from within its own ranks who has criticized FIFA’s corruption and has been consistently calling for reforms.  As someone who has served 17 years as FIFA Vice President and 27 years as a National Assemblyman of the Republic of Korea, it makes me indignant to see such duplicitous and hypocritical behavior.

In 2015, Mr. Blatter resigned as FIFA president after American and Swiss authorities began their investigations against FIFA for illicit sales of World Cup TV rights.  His resignation was followed by an election to appoint his successor.  When I was preparing to run for FIFA president, rumors began to circulate that Mr. Blatter would use his people in the Ethics Committee to prevent me from running.  I personally heard this rumor from three sources.  One was a current FIFA Vice President and another was a legal counselor for a Continental Confederation.  A reporter for a renowned media outlet also confirmed that reporters covering FIFA in Zurich had also overheard this rumor.

During the 17 years as a FIFA Vice President since1994, I made many proposals for reform that Mr. Blatter abhorred.  These included calls (1) to increase transparency in how World Cup TV rights were being sold, (2) to disclose the president’s salary, (3) to demand a clear explanation as to why FIFA lied and falsified documents to give VISA the contract only to later pay a giant indemnity to former sponsor MasterCard, and (4) to organize a special committee to oversee FIFA’s accounting.  When faced with opposition from myself and other ExCo members, Blatter announced in 2011, as he was running for his fourth consecutive term as president, that it would be his last.  But he reneged on his promise and ran again in 2015.  In early 2015, just prior to the election, FIFA launched its “investigation” against me.  It was Blatter’s attack against me who fought for increased transparency and the eradication of corruption at FIFA.  Confirming the rampant rumors, the Ethics Committee announced its sanctions against me in early October 2015 and I was prevented from running for FIFA president.

The following is a chronological account of all that transpired.

In March 2014, Mr. Cornel Borbély, Vice-Chairman (current Chairman) of the Investigatory Chamber of the FIFA Ethics Committee, met with Dr. Han Sung-joo, the former Chairman of Bidding Committee for the 2022 World Cup Korea, and clearly stated that “there are no allegations against you or your team.”[1]  However, as soon as 2015 began, the year of FIFA’s Presidential election, the Ethics Committee opened an “investigation” against me based on a “prima facie case.”[2]

In fact, between April, 2014 and March, 2015 the “Investigatory Chamber” of FIFA’s Ethics Committee sent me questions three times: sixty-nine questions on April 14, 2014, fifty questions on February 13, 2015, and nineteen more questions on March 17, 2015.  I already suspected then that the Ethics Committee had an agenda of its own because of the excruciatingly petty and frivolous nature of the questions and the repetitiveness with which it asked them.  The questions were clearly designed to find fault and to ensnare.

The FIFA Ethics Committee made two allegations against me.  The first was that I had engaged in “vote trading” with England during the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bidding process.  The second one was for “giving the appearance of offering a benefit,” by sending letters to fellow FIFA Executive Committee members on behalf of Korea’s bid for World Cup 2022.

The first allegation was that Korea and England agreed to vote for each other’s bid for the World Cup 2022 and World Cup 2018, respectively.  The FIFA Ethics Committee opened its “investigation” based on an interview between the English Executive Committee member Geoff Thompson and the then-Chairman of the Investigatory Chamber of the Ethics Committee, Michael Garcia, in which Mr. Thompson alleged that he remembered trading votes with me.  This charge was dropped when I pointed out that his claim was nonsense as follows.

On the day the alleged “vote-trading” took place, which was one day before the vote for World Cup 2018 and 2022 venues, I paid a courtesy visit to Prince William at the request of the English delegation in the Prince’s suite at  the  Baur Au Lac hotel in Zurich.  In that suite, I also met with Prime Minister Cameron and Mr. Thompson.  A former Prime Minister of Korea Dr. Lee Hong-Koo was also present.  In a public setting like that, no such “vote trading” could possibly have taken place as the Ethics Committee accused me of having done.  I also asked if the Ethics Committee was investigating Prince William and Prime Minister Cameron.  In fact, according to the transcript of the interview between Mr. Thompson and the Ethics Committee that FIFA had sent me, Mr. Thompson could not even remember whether Prince William was present at the gathering.  Prior to this, FIFA had asked me if I had been to Zurich, where the FIFA headquarter is located, at a specific time before the vote took place.  Upon reviewing my itinerary, I found that I had not been in Zurich at the time.  Had I not been in possession of such clear evidence, I might have fallen into the Ethics Committee’s trap.

“Vote trading” never took place but the fact that such a controversy arose at all is the fault of Mr. Blatter, and Mr. Blatter alone.  It was FIFA’s long standing tradition to decide on the next host country for the World Cup 6 years prior to each tournament.  However, Mr. Blatter abruptly decided in 2008 to have the venues for the 2018 and 2022 World Cup tournaments selected at the same time—8 years and 12 years, respectively, ahead of the tournaments.

The venue for the Olympics is announced 7 years prior to the Games.  Imagine the chaos and criticism that would ensue if the International Olympics Committee (IOC) suddenly decided to choose the venues for 2, 3 Olympic Games at the same time and 15 years prior to the events.  Looking back on all the controversy that has transpired in the wake of the World Cup venue decision of 2010, it is as if Blatter set the fire himself and then yelled “fire.”

The second allegation of the FIFA Ethics Committee was in regard to letters that I had sent to fellow Executive Committee (ExCo) members back in 2010 explaining Korea World Cup 2022 Bid Committee’s campaign.  In October 2010, Dr. Han Sung-joo, the Chairman of the Korea Bid Committee, held a press conference in London to announce the “Global Football Fund” (GFF).  Although I was not present at the press conference, information about the GFF was covered in great detail by the media and was amply publicized.  My letters later to fellow ExCo members were simply a reminder of this campaign pledge.  At the time, FIFA looked into whether my having sent the letters was a problem.  After having looked into the matter extensively, General Secretary Jerome Valcke wrote both me and Dr. Han, saying that “we consider the integrity of the Bidding Process not to be affected and consequently deem the matter as closed.”[3]

When it began its “investigation” against me in 2015, FIFA started to accuse me of having violated the code preventing “appearance of offering a benefit” by sending the letters to ExCo members.  However, the regulatory code did not even exist in 2010 when the letters were sent.  The code preventing “the appearance of offering a benefit” was only introduced for the first time in the 2012 version of the FIFA Code of Ethics.  FIFA introduced this new article when controversies continued after venues for World Cup 2018 and 2022 were announced at the same time.  The Ethics Committee tried to implicate me by applying this new code, violating the principle of not applying codes retroactively.

The Ethics Committee said that it would be dropping the allegation regarding the “appearance of offering a benefit” because it was clearly a retroactive application of the code. But then they proceeded to make an issue of the fact that I had sent the letters at all.  It claimed that my activities as an ExCo member on behalf of Korea’s bid for World Cup 2022 was inappropriate and used it as the main reason to sanction me.

The Ethics Committee which was created in 2012 accused me of an ethics violation over an issue that General Secretary Valcke had absolved me of after an extensive investigation and notified me of in an official letter in 2010.  Even if, for the sake of argument that a truly “independent” Ethics Committee was created in 2012 as argued by the Ethics and Appeal Committees, this very fact shows that no independent Ethics Committee existed prior to its creation and that General Secretary Valcke’s conclusion was FIFA’s official position.[4]  As such, rehashing this issue constitutes “double jeopardy” and is an underhanded way of applying a code retroactively.

I don’t know what the situation is today, but as far as I am aware back in 2010, FIFA ExCo members routinely campaigned for their country’s World Cup bid.  There was no regulation prohibiting it.  Geoff Thompson of England, Angel Maria Villa of Spain, Michel D’Hooghe of Belgium, Mohammed bin Hammam of Qatar, Junji Ogura of Japan, Vitaly Mutko of Russia all worked actively and publicly on behalf of their respective countries’ bid.  ExCo member Ogura of Japan and Exco Member Mutko of Russia even made the final presentations just before the vote to explain why it was important and meaningful for their countries to host the World Cup.

Recently, FIFA President Infantino said in an interview that he would actively encourage “two, three, four countries” to co-host the World Cup.  The 24-member ExCo was recently replaced by a 37-member Council.  This means that the number of countries bidding to host the World Cup will increase as well as the number of Council members.  If the Council selects 3 host candidates after which the General Assembly votes on the final host, the likelihood of Council members campaigning for their country will increase dramatically.  In view of future trends, as well as the situation back in 2010, the fact that ExCo members campaign for their countries’ bid cannot be an issue.

After the FIFA Ethics Committee failed in its attempt to hold up the allegation that I had given “an appearance of offering a benefit” by sending the letters to ExCo members in 2010, it then made an issue out of the fact that I used FIFA letterheads.  It alleges that my having sent letters in my capacity as FIFA Vice President itself was inappropriate.

Even though I did not join the Korea Bidding Committee, I used FIFA letterheads as I routinely did to communicate with fellow ExCo members because I thought that Korea’s hosting of 2022 World Cup would benefit not only Korea but also FIFA.  Had I not used FIFA letterhead, the Ethics Committee would have found fault with something else.  Because Dr. Han Sung-joo, Chairman of the Korea Bid Committee, had already made Korea’s bid public in a press conference and because broad media coverage made it public knowledge, concerning myself over which letterhead I would use to share the news with fellow ExCo members would in itself be strange.  If one were to follow the logic of the Ethics and Appeal Committees, one should not wear a FIFA uniform when talking about Korea’s bid, be in a FIFA building or even a hotel when discussing such a topic.  It would be a violation of FIFA Ethics Code to root for the Korean team during a World Cup match while seated in a seat reserved for ExCo members.  If one was attending the match at the invitation of FIFA who had paid for airfare, hotel, and meals, it would be a violation of the Ethics code to be rooting for a particular team.  However, no one thinks that such actions constitute ethics violation.  What is important is not the form, but the content.  If one were to pay bribes or make other illegal propositions, then that would constitute a violation of the ethics code and would be illegal, regardless of the manner in which it was done.  FIFA Ethics and Appeal Committee are employing convoluted logic to implicate me.

During the investigation, I sent letters to Mr. Blatter protesting the unfairness of the proceedings.  The FIFA Ethics Committee accused me of violating “confidentiality” by letting him know that I was under “investigation.”  They also made an issue of the fact that I had sent letters to President Blatter, who they claim had nothing to do with the Ethics Committee, asking him to stop the investigation.

However, the “Reasoned Decision” by the Adjudicatory Chamber of FIFA’s Ethics Committee states that, “Every official of FIFA has the right to write to the President if he feels that there is a problem that needs to be addressed.”  Indeed, every FIFA member has the right to write to the President regarding internal issues.[5]  Moreover, despite the Ethics Committee’s claim that it is independent, Blatter himself had admitted in a media interview:  “I put these people into the office, where they are now in the ethics committee.”  Because Blatter was using the Ethics Committee to carry out a personal vendetta against me, it was only appropriate that I send him a letter asking him to stop his vindictive behavior.

It is important to note that the “confidentiality” obligation does not apply to the accused party, nor is it covered under any of FIFA’s own Code of Ethics articles.  The only rule is that the Ethics Committee maintains its confidentiality during ongoing investigations.  In order for the accused to fully exercise his right to defend himself, he needs all the help he can get from those outside FIFA.  The accused has nothing to gain by revealing confidential information.  The breach of “confidentiality” charge was ultimately dropped by the Appeal Committee.

However, while the FIFA Appeal Committee said that it would drop the “confidentiality” charge, it instead made an issue of the letters’ content.  It is a contradiction for the Appeal Committee to agree with the Ethics Committee that FIFA officials have the right to write to the President if they feel there is a “problem,” while pointing out that the mention of a “problem” in a letter is not allowed.  This is like guaranteeing the freedom of speech and yet saying that a person cannot voice a different opinion.

The Appeal Committee accused me of violating the Code of Ethics by using political means to influence the “investigation.”  Let us think about what kind of organization FIFA is.  FIFA is fundamentally a political organization.  The FIFA president, ExCo members, and the head of each country’s football federation are all elected through a “political” election.  I do not think we should view the term “political” exclusively in a negative light.  When the FIFA Appeal Committee uses the term “political means,” it uses it negatively to mean unfair pressure.  All I did was to demand that the head of a political organization such as FIFA stop a politically-motivated investigation.  I do not consider this use of “political means” to be problematic.

Whenever I logically refuted the accusations by the FIFA Ethics Committee and the Appeal Committee, at first they seemed to admit their mistakes and drop the charges.  But they would then use secondary and technical issues that arose during the investigation of the original charges to accuse me again of wrong-doing.  Regarding the letters I sent to ExCo members in 2010, they initially accused me of giving “an appearance of offering a benefit.”  Then when I refuted the accusation and argued that it was applying a code retroactively, it dropped the charge.  But they insisted on banning me for sending the letters at all.

In regards to my letters to Blatter, FIFA also contradicted itself by arguing that “their content and underlying intention were problematic” even though it acknowledged that “every official of FIFA has the right to write to the President if he feels that there is a problem that needs to be addressed.”  It seems as if they had already decided to ban me and were busy trying to find an excuse to do so.

When I declared my candidacy for FIFA President, I suggested in my campaign brochure that, “The heads of independent judicial committees should not be nominated by the president as they currently are, but by an ‘independent search committee’.”  The Ethics Committee extended its “investigation” once again – this time allegedly for “defaming” it.  It claimed that I had made “allegations against the independence of the Ethics Committee.”  It then added a request for an additional 4-year ban to the pre-existing request for 15 years.  They wanted to ban me for 19 years.  If the Ethics Committee is indeed as “independent” as it claims to be, shouldn’t Mr. Blatter, who claimed to have “put these people into the office,” be investigated and charged immediately for defamation?  For the FIFA Ethics Committee to use my policy recommendations, which is a part of any campaign, against me is truly “blatant, overt, and arrogant,” to quote U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal.

The Ethics Committee also failed to adhere to the most basic principle of a fair judicial process that requires interested parties in a trial to recuse themselves.  The Ethics Committee accused me of “defaming” it when I made the policy recommendation that, “The heads of judicial committees should not be nominated by the president as they currently are, but by an ‘independent search committee’.”  If this indeed constituted “defamation” as the Committee claimed, then it means that the head of the Adjudicatory Chamber, one of the two co-chairs of the Ethics Committee, was now an interested party to such a defamation suit.  However, the Chairman of the Adjudicatory Chamber rejected my request that he recuse himself and proceeded to preside over my case.  The ruling of the Ethics Committee which violated the most basic principle of any judicial procedure is fundamentally null-and-void.  Perhaps even the Appeal Committee thought that accusing me of “defaming” it was just too much as they belatedly dismissed that charge.  However, simply dropping the charge belatedly is not enough.  The decision of the Ethics Committee itself should be dismissed in toto.

The FIFA Ethics Committee and the Appeal Committee violated Article 39 of the FIFA Code of Ethics, which refers to the principle of providing the accused equal access to information, when it rejected my request to access the same information that was made available to the Ethics Committee.  The FIFA Ethics Committee made an issue out of my letters to fellow ExCo members and cited as evidence the Ethics Committee investigator’s April 2014 interviews with Mr. Blatter and then-Secretary General Jerome Valcke.

In November 2010, after completing an internal review of the letters, Mr. Valcke wrote both me and Dr. Han Sung-joo, the Chairman of the Korea Bid Committee, saying that “we consider the integrity of the Bidding Process not to be affected and consequently deem the matter as closed.”  However, both Mr. Blatter and Mr. Valcke feigned ignorance that such letters existed while accusing me of wrong-doing.  Considering the possibility that the content of the interview may have been distorted, I asked for the full transcript, but was refused.

FIFA Ethics Committee has banned me for “failing to cooperate” with its “investigation.”  This is not only a case of making the ends justify the means. This is patently false. I gave my full cooperation to the investigation.  The FIFA Ethics Committee informed me of its “investigation” in early 2014 as I was running for Mayor of Seoul.  At the time, I was busy preparing to announce my candidacy, getting ready for the primary, and campaigning for the general election.  Therefore, arranging lengthy interviews with Ethics Committee members was a challenge.  Given the nature of the election for Seoul mayor, which is as important as the presidential election, there were pressing developments which even made scheduling one week ahead nearly impossible.  While trying to arrange for a time suitable to both sides, FIFA asked me in April, two months before the election, to provide answers to its questions in writing rather than in a face-to-face interview.  I did so.

I cooperated with FIFA’s investigation to the best of my abilities.  It is disappointing to see the FIFA Ethics Committee and the Appeal Committee turning a blind eye to the overall situation while making distorted arguments to justify a pre-judged outcome.

After its hearing in early October 2015, the Ethics Committee banned me for six years not for the initial charges of “vote-trading” or “the appearance of offering a benefit,” but for such vague allegations as not acting “in line with an ethical attitude and with credibility and integrity.”

In early July 2016, the Appeal Committee dropped the charges that I had violated “confidentiality” and “defamed” the Ethics Committee.  But it still handed out a five year ban, a result not much different from that of the Ethics Committee.  Then it took 9 months to send me the “motivated decision.”  The Chairman of the Appeal Committee was appointed during Blatter’s reign.

Fighting FIFA’s ban is an extension of the lonely fight that I have been waging since 1994 to reform FIFA.  Blatter’s corruption is not only ethically reprehensible but is criminal in nature.  In the 1990s, when Blatter was Secretary General, he turned a blind eye to then-president Joao Havelange receiving bribes from ISL in exchange for World Cup TV rights.  Also, Blatter falsified documents in order to deceive FIFA’s former sponsor MasterCard and to give unfair advantage to VISA in its bid to become the new FIFA sponsor.  For this, FIFA had to pay MasterCard an indemnity of 60 million dollars.  Mr. Blatter has also been investigated for his bribe to former-UEFA President Michel Platini in exchange for his support in the 2011 FIFA presidential election.

FIFA Ethics Committee did nothing about Blatter’s corruption despite a lengthy investigation by judicial authorities and an avalanche of investigative reports.  The Swiss authorities raided FIFA headquarters in 2005 and continued its investigation into the ISL bribery case.  In 2006, Mr. Andrew Jennings published his book Foul and exposed the secret that then-Secretary General Blatter had known about a bribery check mistakenly made out to FIFA by ISL.  During the investigation, FIFA submitted to authorities incriminating documents that proved that Mr. Havelange and his then-son-in-law and former head of the Brazilian Football Federation, Ricardo Teixeira, received millions of dollars in bribes from ISL.  Despite the persistent effort on the part of Havelange to hinder the justice, the Swiss Supreme Court ordered these documents to be made public in 2012.  The FIFA Ethics Committee reluctantly started its own “examination” of the ISL bribery case in 2013, a year after the Swiss authorities concluded its investigation.  It then exonerated Blatter, Havelange’s co-conspirator for all intents and purposes, by saying that he “may have been clumsy.”  In stark contrast, the Ethics Committee was quick to begin its investigation against me based on a ludicrous claim made by English ExCo member Geoff Thompson.

During my tenure as FIFA Vice President, I noticed that there were not many ExCo members who respected Mr. Blatter.  Rather, there were many who despised him.  They were understandably afraid of him and the power he wielded because they wanted to host tournaments or receive FIFA funding.  After becoming president, Blatter made a number of absurd proposals, including a proposal to host the World Cup every two years or to enlarge the goal posts to make football matches more entertaining.  However, they were met with opposition from myself and other ExCo members.  During the 2002 World Cup bidding campaign, I requested President Havelange and Secretary General Blatter a guarantee of fair competition with Japan after I had learned that they were already leaning in Japan’s favor.  I have urged FIFA to be more transparent in its management ever since.

While there is a new FIFA president in place, key individuals in the FIFA Ethics Committee and the Appeal Committee who were handpicked by Mr. Blatter still remain.  To prove that the Mr. Blatter’s reign over FIFA was an aberration, I will use all legal means available, including an appeal to CAS.  Former President Blatter and all those who have slandered me with lies and otherwise contributed to the unjust sanctions against me, will be held legally accountable through law suits and by seeking financial compensations.

I hope that President Infantino, who is working to rid FIFA of its corruption and doing his best to undertake meaningful reform, takes an interest in this case and does his duty by helping me right FIFA’s past wrongs.

I will do everything in my power to make sure that FIFA carries out meaningful reform and regain the love of football fans around the world.  I ask for the continued interest and support of football fans and members of the media.

Thank you very much.

[Download] Appendix

[Download] References

[Download] CAS 제소, FIFA 개혁 계기 되길(2017.04.06)

[Download] 정몽준 전 FIFA부회장 기자회견  별첨자료

[Download] 정몽준 전 FIFA부회장 기자회견 참고자료

[1] Appendix 1: Transcript of the interview between Dr. Han Sung-joo and Cornel Borbély. 22 March, 2014.

[2] Appendix 2: Letter from Mr. Cornel Borbély to Dr. Chung dated 20 January 2015

[3] Appendix 3: Letter from Secretary General Jérôme Valcke to Dr. MJ Chung and Mr. Sung-Joo Han dated 10 November 2010

[4] Appendix 4: FIFA Adjuratory Chamber’s reasoned decision and Appeal Committee’s reasoned decision re Dr. Chung

[5] Appendix 5: FIFA Adjuratory Chamber’s reasoned decision re Dr. Chung dated 21 April, 2016

My effort to reform FIFA and restore my honor will continue

July 6, 2016

MJ Chung

Yesterday’s decision by the FIFA Appeals Committee to ban me for 5 years is disappointing.

In October 2015, after a year-long “investigation,” the Adjudicatory Chamber of FIFA’s Ethics Committee had banned me for 6 years. Yesterday’s decision was based on my appeal.

FIFA’s Ethics Committee started an investigation against me for “vote-trading” and “appearance of offering of benefit” during the bid for 2018/2022 World Cup venues.  Both allegations were dropped in their final report.

The reason that I was given a 6-year ban regardless, was for “failure to cooperate” with the investigation, “breach of confidentiality,” and an “unethical attitude.”  An investigation was started on groundless charges and when I tried to prove my innocence by showing why the accusations were false, I was accused of failing to cooperate and of “an unethical attitude”.  Yesterday’s decision dropped yet another allegation, “breach of confidentiality.”  Now, only two accusations remain, that I had failed to cooperate with the investigation and that I had an unethical attitude.  All substantive charges have been dropped.  The only charges remaining are subjective and ambiguous ones that only pertain to procedural matter that arose during the investigation.

From the beginning of this investigation, I had steadfastly maintained that the whole process was part of an unethical plot on the part of certain elements within FIFA designed to prevent me from further involving myself with FIFA.  It is understandable that FIFA’s leadership always thought of me as a thorn in their side.

Ever since I was elected FIFA Vice-President in 1994, I have been a constant and vocal critic of many facets of FIFA’s way of doing business.  During an international conference in 1995, I criticized the opaque procedure through which FIFA’s TV broadcasting rights were decided.  During the 2002 ISL and 2006 VISA-MasterCard corruption cases, I demanded that Mr. Blatter take full responsibility.  I even openly called on Mr. Blatter to make public his pay.

Just how corrupt FIFA was under Mr. Blatter’s stewardship has since been exposed by the massive investigations launched by US Attorney General and the Swiss Federal Prosecutor.  During a US Senate hearing on corruption at FIFA, Senator Blumenthal said, “The fact of the matter is that what has been revealed so far is a mafia-style crime syndicate in charge of this sport.  My only hesitation in using that term is that it is almost insulting to the mafia because the mafia would never have been so blatant, overt, and arrogant in its corruption.”If FIFA was an organization that retained a semblance of honor and integrity, it would have filed defamation charges against Senator Blumenthal if not the U.S. Senate. But while remaining paralyzed by such criticism, FIFA unhesitatingly singled me out saying that I am not allowed to criticize them because I belong to FIFA.

There is a considerable consensus questioning the independence of the investigatory and adjudicatory chambers of the Ethics Committee. According to my recollection, in all these years, there has never been a single instance where Mr. Blatter’s nominees to these chambers were rejected. In an interview, Mr. Blatter himself boasted “I put these people into the office, where they are now in the ethics committee.” (New York Daily, October 28, 2015). This is the point I have consistently made from the beginning, the very same point for which the Ethics Committee charged me for defaming it. I suppose in the spirit of being fair to Mr. Blatter and for the sake of consistency, it would be proper and just for the Ethics Committee to file charges of defamation against Mr. Blatter.

Rather than properly recuse himself from the decision regarding my appeal, the chairman of the Adjudicatory Chamber of the Ethics Committee presided over the very proceedings.The committee failed to adhere to the most basic principle of a fair judicial process that requires interested parties in a trial to recuse themselves.

What I find most disappointing is the fact that FIFA has not really changed.  Had it fully acknowledged that FIFA’s way of doing things were wrong, such a decision would never have been rendered.

Correcting the wrongful decision by FIFA’s Ethics and Appeals Committees is not only a way to restore my honor, but also to contribute to the reform of FIFA. For this purpose, I shall exhaust all legal options available to me including an appeal to Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS).


FIFA 개혁과 명예회복 위한 노력 계속할 것

저에 대한 FIFA 소청위원회 (Appeals Committee)의 5년 제재 결정은 실망스럽다.

FIFA 윤리위원회의 심판국은 2015년 10월 저에 대한 1년여에 걸친 조사 끝에 6년간의 제재를 결정한 바 있다. 이번 결정은 이에 대한 항소의 결과다.

FIFA 윤리위원회의 조사국이 저에 대해 조사를 시작한 이유는 2018/2022년 월드컵 개최지 결정과정에서 ‘투표담합’ (vote-trading)을 했으며 동료 집행위원들에게 ‘국제축구기금’ 조성 공약과 관련한 편지를 보냄으로써 ’이익제공으로 보이는 행동‘ (appearance of offering of benefit)을 했다는 혐의 때문이었다. 이 두 혐의는 정작 윤리위원회의 결정 발표시 제외됐다

그럼에도 불구하고 6년 제재를 가한 근거는 조사 과정에서 ‘비협조적인 태도’를 보이고 ‘기밀을 누설’했고 ‘태도가 비윤리적이었다’는 그들의 일방적이고 모호한 주장 때문이다. 근거 없는 혐의로 조사를 시작하고 나서 이 과정에서 결백을 주장하고 윤리위원회의 공격에 논리적으로 대응한 것이 ‘비협조적’(failure to cooperate)이었고 ‘비윤리적인 태도’(unethical attitude)였다는 주장이다. 본질적인 규정위반은 모두 빠지고 주관적이고 애매모호한 절차상의 규정위반만 남았다.

이번 소청위 결정에서는 ‘기밀 누설’에 대한 혐의마저 스스로 뺐다. 이제 남은 것은 조사에 대한 ‘비협조’와 ‘비윤리적인 태도’다.

저는 FIFA 윤리위의 조사 초기부터 이 모든 절차가 저의 FIFA 내 활동을 저지하고자 하는 FIFA 내부 특정세력의 비윤리적인 공작에 불과했음을 일관되게 지적해왔다. FIFA의 수뇌부는 저를 늘 눈엣가시처럼 여긴 것으로 생각된다. 저는 1994년 FIFA 부회장 부임 직후부터 FIFA 내부의 잘못된 제도와 관행에 대해 강력하게 비판해 왔다. 1995년의 한 국제회의 연설에서 불투명한 FIFA의 TV 방영권 결정과정에 대해 아벨란제 당시 회장을 비판하였고 2002년 ISL 부정사건, 2006년 VISA-MasterCard 사건 등에 대한 블래터 회장의 책임을 강하게 물었다. 당시 뉴욕 지방 법원 프레스카 판사는 이미 2006년 12월 VISA-MasterCard 판결문에서 FIFA가 ‘거짓말을 했다’ (FIFA lied)라는 말을 13차례나 언급하였고 FIFA의 행태는 당시 FIFA의 구호였던 ‘페어플레이 정신’을 ‘철저히 어기는 것’이라고 신랄하게 비판한 바 있다.  저는 또한 블래터 회장의 연봉을 공개할 것을 공식 요구한 바도 있다.

저에 대한 조사가 시작된 이후 블래터 전 회장의 FIFA가 얼마나 부정과 부패로 얼룩진 조직이었는지는 미국과 스위스 정부의 공식적인 수사를 통해서 밝혀지고 있다. 2015년 미국 상원의 FIFA 부패 관련 청문회에서 블루멘털 상원의원은 “지금까지 공개된 사실만으로도 이번 사건은 스포츠계에서 발생한 마피아 스타일의 조직적인 범죄이다. FIFA를 마피아에 비유하는 것을 주저하게 되는 단 한가지 이유는 그런 비유가 마피아를 모욕하는 것이기 때문이다. 마피아도 이렇게 노골적이고 뻔뻔하게 부패를 저지르지는 않는다.”라고 했다.  FIFA에 최소한의 명예가 남아있었다면 FIFA는 이토록 극단적으로 자신을 비판한 것에 대해 명예훼손으로 고발했어야 마땅하다. 그러나 이러한 비판에 대해서는 꼼짝도 못하면서 저의 경우에는 내부인사라는 이유로 자신들의 명예를 훼손했었다면서 제재를 가했었다.

저를 조사한 FIFA 윤리위원회내의 조사국과 심판국이 과연 자신들의 주장만큼 독립적인지는 논쟁의 여지가 충분히 있다. FIFA에서는 블래터가 윤리위원회의 주요인사를 추천하면 총회가 형식적으로 추인하지만 제가 알아본 바에 의하면 단 한번도 블래터가 지명한 인사가 거부된 적이 없다. 블래터 자신도 인터뷰에서 “지금 윤리위원회에 있는 사람들은 내가 다 거기에 집어 넣었다”고 실토한 바 있다. (NY Daily, October 28, 2015). 저는 독립된 ‘윤리위원장 추천위원회’를 설립할 것을 제안하면서 윤리위의 독립성에 대한 문제점을 제기하였다. 그런데 바로 이 점을 지적한 것이 윤리위원회의 ‘명예를 훼손’했었다는 것이다. 그렇다면 논리적으로나 형평성의 원칙으로 볼 때 윤리위원회는 블래터 전회장도 명예훼손으로 고발해야 마땅하다.

윤리위원회의 심판국장은 제가 윤리위원회의 ‘명예를 훼손’했다고 하면서도 심판국장으로서 자신을 제척하는 대신 제 사건에 대한 판결을 진행하였다. 자신이 연루된 사안에 재판장이 되어서는 안 된다는 최소한의 법 상식마저 저버린 행위였다.

무엇보다도 실망스러운 것은 FIFA가 전혀 변화하지 않고 있다는 사실이다. 과거의 제도와 관행이 잘못된 것임을 깨달았다면 이러한 결정이 나올 수 없었을 것이다.

저에 대한 잘못된 결정을 바로잡는 일은 저의 명예를 회복하는 일이기도 하지만 FIFA의 변화와 개혁에 일조하는 과정이기도 하다. 이를 위해 국제스포츠중재재판소 (CAS) 에 항소하는 것을 포함한 모든 법적인 조치를 강구하겠다.



정 몽 준

Hoping for a Reformed FIFA

February 26, 2016
MJ Chung

I would like to congratulate Mr. Gianni Infantino on his election as FIFA President.
I hope President Infantino will change the system built by Joao Havelange and Sepp Blatter and undertake basic reforms of FIFA.
I hope that this election serves as a turning point to restore FIFA’s reputation so that football can, once again, be a source of hope and inspiration for the young around the globe.