COURT OF ARBITRATION FOR SPORT ENDS FIFA BAN AGAINST Dr. MONG JOON CHUNG (2018.02.10)

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

Legal actions against Mr. Blatter and the Ethics Committee (2015.10.09)

MJ Chung
FIFA Presidential Candidate

 

The unfairness of the sanctions levelled by the FIFA Ethics Committee against me in contrast to those levelled against FIFA President Sepp Blatter, UEFA President Michel Platini, and FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke is such that one can only conclude that it is a shameful attempt to punish me for my open criticisms of FIFA. This shows that the investigation into my alleged violations has been fundamentally flawed and was merely an attempt to sabotage my candidacy for FIFA President.

President Blatter, President Platini, and Secretary General Valcke who are being investigated on the suspicion of bribery, malfeasance, and embezzlement have all received 90 day suspensions. In contrast, I have received a sanction of 6 years for violating such vague articles of FIFA Code of Ethics as “General obligation to collaborate,” “Duty of disclosure,” and “confidentiality.” This is a most blatant miscarriage of justice.

The Ethics Committee is sanctioning me not for my alleged violations of “vote-trading,” “the appearance of offering a benefit,” and personal donations but for my criticisms of the Ethics Committee and my “attitude” during the investigation. There is no clearer proof than this that the whole investigation has been a political ploy from the beginning.

Through the Garcia Report that was made public in November 2014, FIFA had cleared the Korea World Cup Bid Committee of any wrongdoing, stating that the “potentially problematic facts and circumstances identified by the Report regarding the Korea 2022 bid were, all in all, not suited to compromise the integrity of the FIFA World Cup 2018/2022 bidding process as a whole.”

Despite this, the “vote-trading” allegation was made when the British Parliament started an investigation into England’s failed World Cup bid. The Ethics Committee initially thought that they had a strong case against me. One of the questions it sent me on February 13, 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 Korea 2022, in exchange for England’s vote for Korea 2022?”

The vote-trading allegedly took place when we paid a courtesy visit on Prince William at the Prince’s request in his suite at Baur au Lac Hotel in Zurich on December 1, 2010, one day before the vote. When I went to the Prince’s suite, Prime Minister Cameron and Mr. Geoff Thompson were also there. Dr. Lee Hong-Koo, former Prime Minister of Korea and Ambassador to Great Britain, was also present at the gathering. However, in the transcript, Mr. Thomson did not even remember whether Prince William was present. When I responded to the Ethics Committee, saying whether I would have engaged in vote trading in such company, they dropped the charge.

On the second allegation, the Ethics Committee again thought they had a strong case against me when it sent me a transcript of an interview that the former head of the Ethics Committee, Michael Garcia, conducted with Mr. Blatter and Mr. Valcke. According to the transcript, when they were asked about the letters that I had sent to fellow ExCo members, both Mr. Blatter and Mr. Valcke feigned “surprise.”

In response, I sent them copies of two letters that Secretary General Jerome Valcke had sent Dr. Han Sung-joo, the head of the Korea World Cup Bid Committee, and myself in November 2010. In the letter, Secretary General Valcke said, “[b]ased on explanations given by you and Dr. Mo[ng]-Joon Chung, please be informed that we consider the integrity of the Bidding Process not to be affected and consequently deem the matter as closed.”

Now, it turns out that this allegation, too, has been dropped. That is, both allegations for which the investigation against me were initiated, have now been dropped.
In August, media reports of an investigation into my personal donations to Haiti and Pakistan began to surface. However, when I told them that I have been making numerous donations to countries in need of disaster relief, the allegations disappeared.

There is a fundamental procedural flaw in the Ethics Committee’s decision to sanction me. If Mr. Hans-Joachim Eckert, as head of the Chairman of Adjudicatory Chamber, was claiming to be the victim of defamation by me, he should have recused himself from presiding over my case. The fact that he was allowed to render a decision was a clear breach of the legal process.

This decision by the Ethics Committee has completely undermined the legitimacy and fairness of the next FIFA presidential election.

International football community is already taking note of the fact that President Blatter plans to come back to his current position after February 26, 2016, by which time the provisional 90 day sanction would have expired, if the FIFA Congress is unable to elect the next president in case no candidate can win a majority.

FIFA is like the sinking Titanic. If there are those within FIFA who continue to only look out for their own selfish interests while hastening FIFA’s downfall, history will judge them harshly, along with President Blatter who has morally bankrupted FIFA.

I will mobilize all legal means available to expose the injustice of this decision by the Ethics Committee while continuing to do my utmost to reform FIFA. This includes a formal request to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) next week. As I mentioned in London recently, I plan to sue Mr. Blatter for the VISA-MasterCard fraud case and for getting paid by FIFA without the approval of the Executive Committee which amounts to embezzlement. The Ethics Committee will also be the subject of my legal actions for damaging my reputation.

 

[보도자료] 블래터와 FIFA 윤리위에 법적 책임 묻겠다(2015.10.09)

On FIFA Ethics Committee Sanctions (2015.10.08)

October 8, 2015

MJ Chung

As expected, FIFA’s Ethics Committee has announced its sanctions against me. While this decision does not come as a surprise, I am profoundly disappointed at an act that, once again, demonstrates the profoundly irresponsible and unethical nature of FIFA.

That the Ethics Committee continues to serve as Blatter’s “hitman” even when FIFA is in a total meltdown ought to be condemned in the strongest possible terms.

Sepp Blatter FIFA President, Michel Platini UEFA President, and Jerome Valcke FIFA Secretary General who are being investigated on the suspicion of bribery, malfeasance, and embezzlement have all received 90 day suspensions. On the other hand, I have received a ban of 6 years for violating such vague articles of FIFA Code of Ethics as “General obligation to collaborate,” “Duty of disclosure,” and “confidentiality.” This is a most blatant miscarriage of justice.

The Ethics Committee investigation against me was initiated when it was alleged that the letters that I had sent to fellow FIFA Executive Members explaining Korea World Cup 2022 bid committee’s “Global Football Fund” had an “appearance of offering a benefit.” However, it turns out that this allegation, too, has now been dropped. This means that the Ethics Committee is sanctioning me for 6 years only for my “ethical attitude.” There is no clearer proof than this that the whole investigation has been politically motivated from the beginning.

International football community is already taking note of the fact that President Blatter plans to come back to his current position after February 26, 2016, by which time the provisional 90 day ban would have expired, and if the Emergency FIFA Congress is unable to elect the next president.

This decision by the Ethics Committee has completely undermined the legitimacy and fairness of the next FIFA presidential election.

FIFA is like the sinking Titanic. If there are those within FIFA who continue to only look out for their own selfish interests while hastening FIFA’s downfall, history will judge them harshly, along with President Blatter who has morally bankrupted FIFA.

I will mobilize all legal means available to expose the injustice of this decision by the Ethics Committee while continuing to do my utmost to reform FIFA.

I call on all the fair-minded colleagues at FIFA and football fans around the world, as well as the court of world public opinion, to join me in my endeavor to bring about a true re-birth of FIFA.

[보도자료] FIFA 제재에 대한 입장 발표문

Thoughts on Recent Developments at FIFA (2015.09.29)

Press Release

September 29, 2015

September 25 was another sad day for FIFA. On that day, the Swiss Attorney General’s Office announced that FIFA President Sepp Blatter is under criminal investigation and that UEFA President Mr. Michel Platini may be implicated.

During my tenure as a FIFA ExCo member, I worked ceaselessly to confront and to correct what I thought were opaque and illegal ways in which Mr. Blatter and his predecessor, Mr. Havelange, ran FIFA. I am sad to say that, at the time, I did not have the power to stop such corrupt practices that have now come back to haunt and destroy FIFA.

FIFA is currently facing an unprecedented crisis. However, this is also an unprecedented opportunity to reform it. If all those who love football can bring their collective wisdom to bear on reforming FIFA, it will be possible to save and revitalize it.

The most urgent task at hand is to root out corruption from within FIFA. Investigations into illegal activities of the past should be left to the proper legal authorities. Justice must be served. Resuscitating FIFA, however, should be left to those who love football. The future of football should not be left in the hands of outsiders.

Even today, the 2018 World Cup qualifying matches continue to be held. Many football development programs continue to be implemented. However, FIFA that should be overseeing all this is in a total meltdown. General Secretary Valcke is already suspended and it is being reported that President Blatter who is under investigation by federal authorities, as well as FIFA’s internal organs, will soon be suspended also.

Under such circumstances, FIFA and regional Confederations should consider convening extra-ordinary sessions of their respective Executive Committee as well as Congress to set-up an emergency task force that will enable FIFA Secretariat to function without interruption.

FIFA should not be an institution that provides for the opulent life style of a powerful few. Rather, it should be transformed into an organization dedicated to providing footballers and football fans with the experience of joy and hope that only football can provide, all the while instilling the spirit of fair play. For so many young players from many continents, football is the ticket to the outside world. FIFA should be an organization dedicated to making sure that football continues to be a source of inspiration and hope for so many youths.

As a devoted fan of football, I will mobilize all my experience and resources at my disposal to the re-birth, the “renaissance,” of FIFA.

As I had pledged before, if I am elected the next President of FIFA, I will serve a single 4-year term. I will use the first 2 years to undertake a complete structural and operational reform of FIFA. The other 2 years will be devoted to bringing about unity and harmony to the organization. 40 years of culture of corruption can be eradicated in 4 years. There is no reason why it cannot be done. In fact, that is the only way it can be done.

I ask all those who love football to join me in my endeavor to transform FIFA into a symbol of “inspiration and hope,” once again.

 

Thank you very much.

Dr. Chung Mong-Joon
FIFA Presidential Candidate

 

[보도자료] 최근의 FIFA 상황에 대한 입장 자료 (2015.09.29)

Dr. Chung Mong-Joon, Once Again, Urges FIFA to Manage a Fair Election.(2015.09.11)

September 11, 2015

 

Recently, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) sent to almost every AFC member association, form letters to be filled in by the National Football Association in support of the candidacy of Mr. Michel Platini. Furthermore, the Director and staff members of AFC’s Department of Member Associations and Development made private phone calls to individual member associations, checking to see whether they had sent in the completed form letters to FIFA.

On August 31, Dr. Chung Mong-Joon, FIFA Presidential Candidate, sent official letters of complaint to the Ad-hoc Electoral Committee and the Ethics Committee, with a copy of AFC’s form letter, pointing out that such activities clearly violate FIFA Statutes and Electoral Regulations and demanding an investigation and corrective measures. Dr. Chung revealed these facts at a press conference on September 3.

In a letter dated September 3, FIFA’s Ad-hoc Electoral Committee informed Dr. Chung that the committee judged AFC’s activities not to have violated any rules or regulations.

Coincidentally, on the same day, AFC released its own press statement, claiming that its distribution of the form letters did not violate any regulations.

A thorough review of the Ad-hoc Electoral Committee’s letter and AFC’s statement shows that the committee hastily concluded its inquiries into this critical incident in mere three days citing lack of evidence without an in-depth investigation of relevant persons involved. We object to this conclusion in the strongest possible terms.

Even though it has been verified that AFC systematically distributed form letters in support of Mr. Platini, the Ad-hoc Electoral Committee did not even look into the possibility of a coordination between AFC and Mr. Platini, arguing that the committee only has jurisdiction over presidential candidates’ activities and thus could not interfere in AFC’s activities. This is tantamount to voluntarily forfeiting the committee’s duty to ensure the fairness of the election for FIFA President.

For its part, the AFC’s press statement (1) did not even make reference to the form letters, a copy of which we provided, (2) did not deny that AFC sent the form letters and (3) did not deny that AFC as a regional Confederation campaigned for Mr. Platini.
As Dr. Chung already revealed during the September 3 press conference, a vice president of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) circulated similar form letters to its member associations, but CAF deemed his behavior highly improper and took measures to rectify the situation.

CAF and AFC’s radically different responses to the same incident clearly show that the two confederations have fundamentally different
understanding of its seriousness. If the Ad-hoc Electoral Committee thinks that the AFC’s activities was not illegal, then CAF’s corrective measures constitute an obstruction of a legitimate campaign activity. In this case, FIFA should take disciplinary actions against CAF. If, however, CAF’s corrective measures are judged to be proper, AFC’s activities should be categorized as an electoral fraud and FIFA should take disciplinary actions against AFC and implement relevant measures to rectify the current situation. Instead, FIFA maintains the contradictory stance that both AFC and CAF’s actions are legitimate.

We believe that AFC sending form letters containing Mr. Platini’s initials, MP, to its member associations while urging support for Mr. Platini clearly violates FIFA Statutes and Electoral Regulations. Therefore, we urge the Ad-hoc Electoral Committee, once again, to promptly take the following three actions:

(1) Refer this case to the Investigatory Chamber of the Ethics Committee in accordance with FIFA Electoral Regulations,
(2) Conduct a thorough investigation to see if AFC President Sheikh Salman, UEFA President and FIFA Presidential Candidate Michel Platini, and officials at CAF and other Confederations plotted this incident together,
(3) Take immediate measures to nullify any “support” for the candidature of Platini received through the form letters sent by AFC, the Vice President of CAF and/or any other Confederation.

We would like to once again point out that the FIFA Ad-hoc Electoral Committee reaching a hasty conclusion without having conducted a thorough investigation of relevant facts and parties, will be regarded as being tantamount to covering up an election fraud and, thus once again, urge the committee to conduct a thorough investigation of this matter.

 

Mr. LIN Byung-taik
Spokesman for FIFA Presidential Candidate, Dr. MJ Chung

 

 

[보도자료] FIFA선관위 결정에 대한 입장(2015.09.11)

 

Dr. Chung faces no criminal allegation. Urges FIFA to manage a fair and open Presidential election according to due process.(2015.08.25)

 

August 25, 2015

Whether or not the upcoming FIFA Presidential election takes place according to due process, fairness and openness will be the litmus test for whether or not genuine reform of FIFA will be possible. Only a fair and open election can resuscitate FIFA’s reputation which has been gravely undermined by scandals old and new.

Unfortunately, there are increasing signs that the election is deteriorating into a typical FIFA affair with selective leaks of so-called “confidential” information, accusations of wrong-doing based on “unconfirmed reports,” un-named “sources” and “insiders.” The recent press reports attacking Dr. Chung’s character and integrity are based on such unconfirmed, leaked sources and full of factual distortions.

To be clear, contrary to recent press reports based on FIFA leaks, Dr. Chung is not facing any criminal charges or allegations of bribery, fraud, corruption, vote buying or even a breach of “conflict of interest” under the FIFA Ethics Code from the Ethics Committee. Beyond that, Dr. Chung refrains from commenting on any possible Ethics Committee proceedings out of respect for confidentiality requests made by FIFA. However, by leaking information that could only have come from within FIFA, FIFA is violating its own rules and regulations that it imposes upon others. Indeed, the current election is in danger of being manipulated to a degree unseen even in previous notorious FIFA presidential elections.

This is not just a matter of who gets elected the next President of FIFA. It is a matter of what kind of FIFA will emerge out of this current crisis. Will it be the old corrupt FIFA shunned by fans, or will it be a new FIFA that can truly represent and raise to new heights our beautiful game? This is what hangs in the balance.

Mr. LIN Byung-taik
Spokesman for FIFA Presidential Candidate, Dr. MJ Chung

[보도자료] 정몽준 명예부회장 그 어떤 형사상의 혐의 받고 있지 않아(2015.08.25)