신임 회장의 당선을 축하합니다.
신임회장이 아벨란제-블래터의 체제를 청산하고 FIFA의 근본적인 개혁을 이뤄내기를 기대합니다.
신임 회장의 당선을 계기로 FIFA가 명예를 회복하고 많은 축구팬들에게 희망과 기쁨을 주게되기를 바랍니다.
2016. 2. 26.
정 몽 준
신임 회장의 당선을 축하합니다.
신임회장이 아벨란제-블래터의 체제를 청산하고 FIFA의 근본적인 개혁을 이뤄내기를 기대합니다.
신임 회장의 당선을 계기로 FIFA가 명예를 회복하고 많은 축구팬들에게 희망과 기쁨을 주게되기를 바랍니다.
2016. 2. 26.
정 몽 준
* Revised on 30 December 2015
2015 was a year of humiliation and disgrace for FIFA. It must have been disheartening for so many young people for whom football is a source of hope and inspiration. It was a year that gave me much food for thought.
FIFA became rotten to the core, run for decades as a closed system by a handful people who wielded absolute power by controlling its finances, jobs and tournament venues. Ever since I joined FIFA in 1994 as Vice President, I campaigned for greater transparency and spoke out against unethical behaviors by Presidents Joao Havelange and Sepp Blatter. I tried to reform FIFA, once again, by running in the upcoming FIFA presidential election. However, my candidacy was undermined by President Blatter and his cronies.
In May 2015, the world was shocked when the depth of FIFA’s corruption was revealed through the investigations by US and Swiss authorities. The corruption that I had worked ceaselessly to warn against finally came to light. President Blatter who had built up this system and Michel Platini, his self-anointed successor, have been sanctioned. Several Executive Committee (ExCo) members and officials have been arrested. However, it is still doubtful whether FIFA can ultimately transform itself into a transparent and clean organization.
It is ironic that FIFA’s Ethics Committee, an organization which has willfully overlooked corruption within FIFA while using every means at its disposal to come after me for daring to challenge President Blatter, is now belatedly claiming to be a “clean hand” to bring President Blatter to justice. As long as entities like the Ethics Committee comprised of such hypocritical officers continue to exist, a meaningful reform within FIFA is impossible.
The Ethics Committee, referred to as “President Blatter’s hitmen” during a U.S. Senate hearing on FIFA, revealed its true nature when it started a formal investigation against me last January. In March 2014, FIFA’s Ethics Committee interviewed Dr. Han Sung-joo, the Chairman of Korean Bidding Committee for 2022 World Cup. During the interview, Mr. Cornel Borbely, then Deputy Chairman of the Investigatory Chamber of the Ethics Committee, said, “there are no allegations against you or your team.”
Then, on January 20, 2015 the Ethics Committee suddenly informed me that it was launching an official investigation against me. Since then, 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. The excruciatingly petty and frivolous nature of the questions and the repetitiveness with which they were asked, made me suspect from the beginning that the Ethics Committee had an agenda of its own. Many of the questions were highly inappropriate, insinuating and sometimes downright offensive. For example, they wanted me to tell them whom I had voted for to host the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. I told them that the voting was done by a secret ballot for sound policy reasons and that they were violating regulations by asking such a question. Basically, what it came down to was harassing and badgering.
The allegations were just as preposterous. Initially, they alleged that I engaged in “vote trading” with an English ExCo member and gave “the appearance of offering a benefit” by sending letters to my fellow ExCo members regarding the “Global Football Fund.”
In December 2014, Mr. Geoff Thompson, the English ExCo member, allegedly claimed that he had traded votes with me back in 2010. The Ethics Committee must have thought that it had found a critical piece of evidence against me. Sending me a transcript of an interview between Mr. Michael Garcia and Mr. Thompson, the Ethics Committee asked: “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?” Mr. Thomson alleged that the vote-trading occurred when together 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. Prime Minister Cameron and Dr. Lee Hong-Koo, former Prime Minister of Korea and Ambassador to Great Britain, were also present. However, according to the transcript, Mr. Thomson could not even remember whether Prince William was present when he and I and PM Cameron were allegedly making this deal.
I retorted by asking whether it was even conceivable that Mr. Thompson and I would be making an illicit ‘vote trading’ deal in such company, whether the Ethics Committee was accusing Prince William and the Prime Minister of Great Britain of being complicit in vote trading the day before the vote, and if so, whether they would be investigating the Prince and PM Cameron as well.
When I pointed out these details, the Investigatory Chamber wrote me back demanding to know how I had obtained the transcript which they themselves had sent me. The incompetency and irrationality of the Ethics Committee was astonishing.
The Ethics Committee eventually decided to drop this charge. Even they must have thought that this allegation was ridiculous.
“The appearance of offering a benefit” refers to the letters I sent to fellow FIFA ExCo members explaining Korea World Cup 2022 bid committee’s “Global Football Fund (GFF).” 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.
For example, England’s bid team for the 2018 World Cup proposed a “Football United” fund which was described as, “a unique chance to create a new global fund for football that aims to match FIFA’s current spend on football development . . . imagine what this would mean for your Confederation.” If the scope of Football United fund was intended to “match FIFA’s current spend on football development,” this would have overwhelmed the GFF by 10 times.
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.
The final blow to the Ethics Committee’s case was a copy of a letter that Jerome Valcke, then-Secretary General of FIFA, had sent me regarding the GFF back in 2010. Already back then, FIFA had looked into the “issue” and determined the matter closed. Valcke wrote to me and Dr. Han Sung-joo, the Chairman of the Korea Bid Committee, that “[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.”
When neither allegation could be substantiated, they started to accuse me of violating procedures during the investigation.
In a letter dated June 5, 2015, the Ethics Committee informed me that it will be extending the investigation for breach of “confidentiality.” It was referring to three personal letters that I had written President Blatter to strongly protest against the proceedings. I had written them so that President Blatter would not exercise undue influence over the investigatory proceedings.
It turns out that President Blatter, instead of answering my personal letters, simply turned them over to the Ethics Committee. The Ethics Committee then used them as an excuse to extend its investigation against me. If President Blatter really was not involved in the investigatory proceedings in any way, he could simply have kept my letters to himself, or could have responded in person, or through his private lawyer.
Be that as it may, “confidentiality” obligation usually does not apply to the accused party, nor is it covered under any of FIFA’s own Code of Ethics articles. This is because, in order to defend himself, the accused must collect evidence and support for his defense from related parties and in doing so, it is inevitable that he lets others know that he is under investigation. However, beyond this, there is no incentive for the accused to publicize the facts of his investigation.
Now, “Confidentiality” may be required when the accused shares information with co-conspirators, so as to gain unfair advantage and to undermine the accuser’s case. However, I doubt that the Investigatory Chamber considered President Blatter to be my co-conspirator. The only reason I wrote the letters was to inform President Blatter, the legal representative of FIFA, that the investigation was excessive and unfair.
Then, starting in August, numerous leaks from the Ethics Committee were made to the press regarding its investigation against me. One report said that I was being investigated for the charitable donations that I made to Haiti and Pakistan in the past for earthquake relief. It was a false leak. I was never charged for these. What they were doing was to cynically politicize my philanthropy which I had been engaged in all over the world by portraying them as bribes. Another specified the length of sanctions to be imposed on me and yet another even specified the dates on which the sanctions would be announced. The reports claimed that they obtained such information “from highly-placed FIFA executive committee and ethics committee sources.” When I protested the use of such underhanded tactics by the Ethics Committee to besmirch my reputation, it accused me of “defaming” it.
In September, the Ethics Committee informed me that it is extending its investigation once again, for making “allegations against the independence of the Ethics Committee.” The committee referred to a sentence in my campaign brochure which stated, “The heads of independent judicial committees should not be nominated by the president as they currently are, but by an ‘independent search committee.”
Apparently, the Ethics Committee is very sensitive to remarks questioning its independence. The Ethics Committee claims that it is independent of President Blatter because it is approved by the Congress. But the point is, it was always President Blatter who nominated the Ethics Committee chair and the Congress never turned down President Blatter’s nominees.
In late July, the Investigative Chamber of the Ethics Committee concluded the investigation and turned the case over to the Adjudicatory Chamber of the Ethics Committee, recommending a 15 year ban against me. It added another 4 years for having “defamed” the Ethics Committee.
Then, the Ethics Committee proceeded to hand down a sentence over a case in which it was an interested party. The members of the Ethics Committee were claiming that I had defamed them, but then they decided to preside over the case themselves. The committee rejected my request for Judge Eckert, the chair, to recuse himself from presiding over my case on the grounds that I had missed a 5-day deadline for recusal requests. The committee even failed to adhere to one of the most basic principle of a fair judicial process.
On October 8, the Ethics Committee sanctioned me for six years for violating the “general obligation to collaborate” and for “defamation” of the Ethics Committee’s reputation. Failing to substantiate either “vote-trading” or GFF-related allegations, the two original substantive allegations against me, the Ethics Committee resorted to sanctioning me for procedural violations allegedly committed in the course of the investigation.
The reason that the Ethics Committee badgered and harassed me with an endless series of questions for over a year was to find any pretext to sanction me. In the end, all they could find were petty procedural issues that they pinned on me during the course of the investigation. FIFA, which has been described by the international media as “one of the most corrupt organizations on Earth” has sanctioned me for trivial procedural matters which would not have arisen had they not started the investigation. As they say, “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eyes?”
Ever since early July, my friends in FIFA that I met in Vancouver and Philadelphia had warned me that the Ethics Committee would sanction me in order to prevent me from running as FIFA President. What they told me turned out to be all too true.
On the same day they announced their sanctions against me, the Ethics Committee announced that it was imposing a 90-day provisional ban on President Blatter and Mr. Platini for suspicions of exchanging bribes. By simultaneously announcing sanctions against me with what they knew would be sensational news, they tried to hide the injustice of their sanctions against me.
President Blatter and Mr. Platini ultimately received 8 year sanctions each for their actions. However, the decision by the Ethics Committee is grossly unfair. A corrupt act such as bribery, on the one hand, and pointing out problems of the Ethics Committee, on the other hand, are not comparable offenses. Justice that has lost all sense of balance and proportion is injustice. That is why the New York Times has called FIFA Ethics Committee an “oxymoron.”
The Ethics Committee had stood idly by when FIFA found itself at the center of corruption scandals involving ISL, a sport marketing company, and VISA-MasterCard. In the ISL case, when pressed to conduct an investigation, it simply exonerated President Blatter. As for the VISA-MasterCard sponsorship corruption scandal, the Ethics Committee has yet to even mention the issue, let alone investigate it.
Now that their patron President Blatter finds himself in a difficult situation, the Ethics Committee has begun to act as if they finally understand what it was that the media have been pointing out so insistently over decades. People who should be the target of reform act as if they are spearheading it. Punishing those critical of President Blatter and now repaying their former boss with betrayal, the Ethics Committee is undertaking a contemptible attempt at whitewashing its past.
Even after its decision to suspend me, the Ethics Committee continues to deliberately sabotage my effort to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). In order for me to appeal my case to CAS, I must first go through FIFA’s internal appeal process. For this I need to have FIFA Ethics Committee’s “reasoned decision,” a document that explains why I received the sanctions. However, almost three months after my sanctions, the Ethics Committee has yet to send me the “reasoned decision.” It is not only a blatant violation of justice but also of common sense.
Those who enjoyed power under President Blatter’s shadow now try to kick out their host and have begun to act as if they run FIFA. As long as FIFA is run by such people, the prospect for a fundamental reform is dim. This is like a police organ that served as a puppet of a brutal dictator proclaiming itself to be the protector of justice after the fall of the dictator.
Still, what made 2015 a bearable and ultimately meaningful year for me was the support and encouragement that I received from so many who love the game of football. Mr. Lennart Johansson, former UEFA President, Dr. Henry Kissinger, former US Secretary of State, Ms. Karen House, former managing editor of the Wall Street Journal, and Mr. Michael Bloomberg, CEO of Bloomberg L.P., among many others, expressed their concerns over FIFA’s corruption and gave me counsel on how to best reform FIFA. I also have fond memories of conversations with greater reporters like Mr. Andrew Jennings and Mr. Rob Hughes who have done so much to uncover FIFA’s dirty secrets. I pray for Mr. Jennings’ speedy recovery.
Reforming FIFA will not be easy with the structure and people who currently make up FIFA. It is too early to despair, however. As long as we have fans who love football, we have a bright future. In the New Year, I hope that football can, once again, become a source of hope and inspiration.
*본 글은 12.18(금) 게재된 글의 수정본입니다.
2015년은 국제축구연맹(FIFA)에게 치욕의 해였다. 축구를 ‘희망과 영감(hope and inspiration)’의 문으로 생각하던 수많은 젊은이들은 좌절했을 것이다. 내게 있어서도 여러 가지로 의미 깊은 한 해였다.
FIFA는 지난 수 십년 간 돈과 자리, 경기개최지 선정을 통제하면서 권력을 움켜쥔 몇몇 인사들이 운영하는 폐쇄된 시스템 속에서 심하게 부패해왔다. 나는 FIFA부회장으로서 1994년부터 17년간 투명한 운영을 요구하면서 아벨란제와 블래터 체제에 맞섰다. 이번에 다시 한 번 FIFA 개혁을 시도해보았으나 블래터와 그의 추종 세력의 방해로 뜻을 이루지는 못했다.
지난 5월 미국과 스위스 사법기관의 수사로 노출된 FIFA의 부패상은 전세계를 경악케 했다. 내가 수 없이 지적하고 비판하고 경고했던 바로 그 부패상이 이제 만천하에 드러나기 시작했다. 비록 기존의 체제를 만든 블래터와 그의 후계자를 자처했던 플라티니도 징계를 당하고 수많은 집행위원과 간부들이 체포됐지만 과연 FIFA가 투명하고 깨끗한 단체로 거듭날 수 있을지는 의심스럽다.
역설적인 것은 블래터의 수하에 있으면서 FIFA의 노골적인 부패는 방치하는 한편 나와 같이 블래터 체제에 맞서던 사람은 온갖 수단을 동원하여 제재하던 FIFA의 윤리위가 뒤늦게 ‘깨끗한 손’인 것처럼 블래터 징계를 운운하고 있다는 사실이다. 그러나 FIFA 윤리위 같은 조직과 이를 운영하는 위선적 인물들이 존재하는 한 FIFA의 진정한 개혁은 어렵다.
미국 상원청문회에서 블래터의 ‘청부업자’라고 불렸던 윤리위는 지난 1월 나에 대한 공식적인 조사를 시작하면서부터 그 실체를 노골적으로 드러냈었다. FIFA 윤리위는 지난해 3월 2018년과 2022년 월드컵 유치과정과 관련해 관련국에 대한 전반적인 예비조사를 벌이면서 한승주 전 유치위원장을 인터뷰하기도 했다. 이 자리에서 보벨리 당시 윤리위 부위원장은 한승주 전 위원장에게 “한국팀에 대한 혐의는 없다”고 밝혔었다.
윤리위는 지난 1월20일 느닷없이 나에 대한 공식 조사를 개시한다고 통보했다. 윤리위 조사국은 3차례 서면조사를 했는데, 지난해 4월14일에는 69개 항목, 지난 2월13일에는 50개 항목, 5월17일에는 19개 항목의 질문을 보냈다. 사소한 내용의 질문을 반복적으로 던져서 고문수준으로 괴롭히는 것을 보고, 처음부터 윤리위에게 무언가 꿍꿍이가 있을 것이라는 의심을 했다. 많은 질문들이 부적절하면서 넌지시 의도를 드러냈고 때론 불쾌감을 주었다. 예를 들면 이런 식이었다. 윤리위는 내가 2018년과 2022년 월드컵 개최지 결정 때 어느 나라에 투표했느냐고 물었다. 이에 대해 나는 개최지 투표는 비밀투표 원칙에 따라 이루어진 것이기 때문에 그것을 공개하라고 하는 것은 규정위반이라고 지적했다. 윤리위의 질문들은 기본적으로 나를 괴롭히기 위한 것이었다.
윤리위는 처음에는 말도 안 되는 혐의를 내세웠다. 내가 영국 집행위원과 ‘투표담합’을 했고, 동료 집행위원들에게 ‘국제축구기금(GFF)에 관한 편지를 보내 ’이익제공으로 보이는 행동‘을 했다는 것이었다.
2010년 월드컵 개최지 투표 당시 영국 집행위원이었던 제프 톰슨은 지난해 12월, 나와 ‘투표담합’을 했었다고 주장했다. 윤리위는 아마 결정적인 증거를 잡았다고 생각했을 것이다. 윤리위는 마이클 가르시아 당시 윤리위원장과 톰슨 간의 대화록을 내게 보내면서 “영국의 2018월드컵 유치위원장이었던 톰슨이 ‘투표담합’을 인정한 사실을 알고 놀랐는가?”라고 물었다. 톰슨은 투표 하루 전인 2010년 12월1일, 윌리엄 왕자의 초청으로 윌리엄 왕자의 호텔 스위트룸을 찾아가 함께 만난 자리에서 ‘투표담함’이 이루어졌다고 주장했다. 이 자리에는 캐머런 영국 총리와 주영대사를 지낸 이홍구 전 총리도 참석했다. 하지만 대화록에 의하면, 톰슨은 자신과 나, 그리고 캐머런 총리가 ‘투표담함’에 합의했다고 주장한 바로 그 자리에 정작 윌리엄 왕자가 있었는지는 기억하지 못한다고 말했다.
나는 윤리위에 톰슨과 내가 이런 상황에서 불법적인 ‘투표담합’을 하는 것이 생각할 수나 있는 일이냐고 되물었다. 또 윤리위가 윌리엄 왕자와 캐머런 총리를 투표 하루 전 ‘투표담합’에 공모한 것으로 보고 있는지, 그렇다면 두 사람을 조사할 것인지도 물었다.
이런 세부적인 모순을 지적하자 윤리위 조사국은 내게 다시 편지를 보내 대화록-자신들이 보냈던-을 어떻게 입수했느냐고 물었다. 윤리위의 무능과 무리함에 혀를 찰 수 밖에 없었다.
결국 윤리위는 이 부분은 취하했다. 자신들도 이 혐의는 말이 안 된다는 것을 깨달았음에 틀림없다.
‘이익제공으로 보이는 행위’란 한국 2022월드컵 유치위원회의 국제축구기금(GFF) 제안을 설명하는 편지를 내가 동료 FIFA 집행위원들에게 보낸 것을 말한다. GFF는 전혀 특별한 것이 아니다. FIFA가 모든 유치 신청국에 요구하는 축구발전 프로그램에 맞추어 제안한 것이었다.
가령, 영국 2018월드컵 유치위원회는 ‘축구연합기금’을 제안하면서 이렇게 표현했다. “현재 FIFA가 축구발전을 위해 쓰는 규모에 필적하는 새로운 기금을 만들 수 있는 특별한 기회…이것이 당신의 대륙연맹에 의미하는 바를 상상해보라” 영국의 설명대로라면 ‘축구연합기금’의 규모는 한국 GFF의 10배가 넘었을 것이다.
카타르는 2022월드컵 유치를 신청하면서 “태국과 나이지리아의 풀뿌리 축구 및 인재 스카우트 프로그램” “네팔과 파키스탄의 16개 학교를 축구를 통해 지원” “어려운 나라를 위한 22개 모듈식 스타디엄의 건설” 등을 제안했다.
윤리위 조사에 대한 결정타는 제롬 발케 사무총장이 2010년 GFF와 관련해 내게 보낸 편지였다. 이미 당시 FIFA는 이 ‘사안’을 살펴보고 종료하기로 결정했다. 발케 사무총장은 나와 한승주 한국유치위원장에게 편지를 보내 “유치활동 과정에 문제가 없으며 따라서 이 사안은 종료하기로 했다는 사실을 통보한다”고 밝혔다.
두 가지 사안 모두 실체가 없는 것으로 드러나자 윤리위는 조사과정의 절차를 위반했다는 식으로 나를 공격하기 시작했다.
윤리위는 지난 6월5일자 편지에서 ‘비밀유지’ 위반으로 조사를 확대하겠다고 통지했다. 내가 블래터 회장에게 편지를 보내 조사에 강력히 항의한 것을 문제 삼은 것이다. 사실 이 편지는 블래터 회장이 조사과정에 부당한 영향을 행사하지 못하도록 하기 위해 쓴 것이었다.
블래터 회장은 나의 사신에 대답하지 않고 편지를 윤리위에 넘겨버렸다. 그러자 윤리위는 이 편지들을 조사 확대에 활용한 것이다. 만약 블래터 회장이 정말 어떤 식으로든 조사과정에 개입하지 않았다면, 편지를 그냥 갖고 있든지, 스스로든 아니면 개인 변호사를 통해서든 답장을 할 수 있었을 것이다.
‘비밀유지’란 일반적으로 피소당한 쪽에 부과되는 의무가 아닐 뿐 아니라 FIFA 윤리규정 어디에도 명시되어 있지 않다. 피소당한 사람은 스스로를 변호하기 위해 관련자들로부터 증거를 수집해야 하는데 그러다 보면 조사를 받고 있다는 사실이 다른 사람들에게 알려지는 것은 불가피한 일이다. 무엇보다 피소당한 사람 입장에서는 조사 사실이 널리 알려져서 좋을 것이 없다.
피소당한 사람이 공모자와 정보를 교류해서 조사를 방해하거나 부당한 이익을 얻으려 한다면 ‘비밀유지’가 필요할 수도 있을 것이다. 하지만 윤리위 조사국이 블래터 회장을 나의 공모자로 간주했을 리는 없다. 내가 편지를 쓴 유일한 이유는 FIFA의 법적 대표인 블래터 회장에게 조사가 지나치고 부당하다는 것을 알리려는 것이었다.
지난 8월부터는 윤리위에서 조사에 관한 정보가 언론에 유출되기 시작했다. 어느 기사는 내가 과거에 지진 피해 복구를 위해 아이티와 파키스탄에 기부한 것 때문에 조사를 받고 있다고 보도했다. 하지만 이것은 거짓 유출이었다. 나는 이것 때문에 조사받은 적이 없다. 이들은 전세계에 걸쳐 벌였던 자선활동까지도 정치적으로 채색하려 한 것이다. 어느 언론은 나에 대한 제재 기간, 제재 발표 날짜까지 특정해서 보도했다. 이런 언론보도들은 ‘FIFA 집행위와 윤리위의 고위 관계자’로부터 정보를 입수했다고 주장했다. 나에 대한 평판을 흠집내려는 이런 비열한 작업에 항의하자, 윤리위는 오히려 자신들이 ‘명예훼손’을 당했다면서 나를 비난했다.
윤리위는 지난 9월, 내가 자신들의 독립성을 해치는 주장을 했다면서 다시 한 번 조사를 연장한다고 통보했다. 지난 8월 FIFA 회장 출마선언을 하면서 배포했던 브로셔에 “윤리위의 책임자는 지금처럼 회장이 추천하지 말고 독립된 추천위원회가 추천해야 한다”고 표현한 부분 등을 문제 삼았다. 윤리위가 독립적이지 않다고 비판하자 아픈 곳이 찔렸다고 생각한 듯 했다.
윤리위는 자신들이 총회의 승인을 받기 때문에 블래터 회장으로부터 독립되어 있다고 주장한다. 하지만 중요한 점은 윤리위원장을 추천하는 사람이 블래터 회장이었고 총회는 한 번도 블래터 회장의 추천을 거부한 적이 없다는 사실이다.
윤리위는 지난 7월 말, 조사를 종료하고 나를 심판국에 회부하면서 15년 자격정지를 구형했다. 이후 윤리위의 명예를 훼손했다는 이유를 붙여 다시 4년 구형을 추가했다.
윤리위는 자신들의 명예가 훼손되었다고 주장하는 사건을 다루면서 스스로 심판관이 되어 판결을 내렸다. 윤리위는 사건의 당사자인 에커트 심판국장을 제척해달라는 요청을 5일간의 신청기한을 넘겼다는 이유로 받아들이지 않았다. 공정한 사법절차의 기본도 지키지 않은 것이다.
윤리위는 지난 10월8일 나에 대해 ‘조사 비협조’ ‘윤리위 명예 훼손’ 등을 이유로 자격정지 6년을 선고했다. 원래 조사의 쟁점이었던 ‘투표담합’이나 GFF 관련 혐의의 실체를 찾지 못하자, 조사 과정에서 절차적 위반을 했다고 주장하면서 제재를 가한 것이다.
윤리위가 1년여에 걸쳐 끝도 없는 질문 공세로 나를 괴롭힌 이유는 제재를 위한 구실을 찾으려는 것이었다. 결국 그들이 찾을 수 있었던 것은 조사과정에서 나를 얽어매기 위한 사소한 절차적 사안이었다. 해외 언론에 의해 ‘전세계에서 가장 부패한 조직중 하나’로 표현되었던 FIFA가, 조사가 개시되지 않았더라면 있지도 않았을 절차적 문제를 빌미로 나를 제재한 것이다. 그야말로 ‘남의 눈의 티끌은 보면서 제 눈의 들보는 못 보는’ 격이다.
지난 7월 초부터 캐나다 밴쿠버와 미국 필라델피아에서 만났던 FIFA내의 동료들이 윤리위가 나의 회장 출마를 막기 위해 제재를 가할 것이라고 귀띔해주었는데, 모두 사실이었음이 드러났다.
윤리위는 나에 대한 제재를 발표한 날, 부정한 돈을 주고받은 혐의를 받고 있던 블래터와 플라티니에 대해서는 90일 잠정 제재를 결정했다. 언론의 관심이 집중될 사안과 동시에 발표함으로써 윤리위는 나에 대한 제재의 부당성을 감추었다.
블래터 회장과 플라티니는 결국 각각 8년 제재를 받았다. 하지만 이 결정은 현저하게 불공평한 것이다. 뇌물성 금품 수수라는 부패행위와 윤리위의 문제점을 지적한 행위를 같은 선상에 놓고 볼 수는 없기 때문이다. 형평성과 균형감각을 상실한다면 그것은 정의가 아니다. 바로 이런 점 때문에 뉴욕타임즈가 FIFA와 윤리위는 양립할 수 없는 ‘모순’이라고 갈파한 것이다.
그동안 FIFA가 스포츠 마케팅 회사 ISL의 뇌물사건, 비자카드와의 부당한 후원사 계약 등 숱한 부패 스캔들에 휩싸였을 때도 윤리위는 수수방관했다. 어쩔 수 없이 ISL 사건에 대해 조사를 했을 때도 고작 블래터에게 면죄부를 주는 수준이었다. 비자-마스터카드 후원사 선정 관련 스캔들에 대해서는 조사는 커녕 아직 언급도 하지 않고 있다.
FIFA 개혁의 대상인 사람들이 자신들의 인사권자였던 블래터가 어렵게 되자 그동안 언론에서 수 없이 지적했던 사안들을 이제야 알았다는 듯이 칼을 휘두르고 있다. 블래터를 비판했던 사람들은 괘씸죄로 처리하고, 블래터와 그 측근들에 대해선 은혜를 배신으로 갚으면서 가증스러운 변신을 도모하고 있다.
윤리위는 나에 대한 제재 결정 이후 외부의 심판기관인 국제스포츠중재재판소(CAS)에 제소하는 것을 교묘하게 막고 있다. CAS 제소를 위해서는 FIFA내 항소 절차를 먼저 거쳐야 하는데 항소의 필수 요건인 판결문(reasoned decision)을 3개월이 다 되어가는데도 보내지 않고 있다. 공정한 법질서는 물론 기본적인 상식마저 무시하고 있는 것이다.
블래터의 그늘에서 권력의 맛을 즐기다 이제는 숙주였던 블래터를 몰아내고 주인행세를 하는 사람들이 있는 한 FIFA의 근본적 개혁은 요원하다. 극악무도한 독재정권의 하수인이었던 수사기관이 독재정권이 무너진 뒤에 마치 정의의 사도인 것처럼 활개치는 것과 비슷한 상황이 전개되고 있다.
윤리위의 방해로 차기 FIFA 회장 선거에 나갈 수는 없게 되었지만 내게 금년은 의미 있는 한 해였다. 축구를 사랑하는 많은 분들이 내게 용기를 주었다. 레나트 요한슨 전 유럽축구연맹(UEFA) 회장, 헨리 키신저 전 미 국무장관, 카렌 하우스 전 월스트리트저널 편집장, 마이클 블룸버그 회장 등 많은 분들이 FIFA의 부패를 함께 걱정하고 개혁에 대한 조언을 해주었다. FIFA의 부패를 파헤친 앤드류 제닝스, 랍 휴즈와 같은 훌륭한 언론인들과 대화를 나눌 수 있었던 것도 행복한 기억이다. 병중에 있는 앤드류 제닝스의 빠른 회복을 기원한다.
지금의 FIFA 체제와 인물로는 FIFA 개혁이 쉽지 않지만 아직 절망하기는 이르다. 축구를 사랑하는 많은 팬들이 있는 한 우리에게는 아직 미래가 있다. 내년에는 축구라는 단어가 다시 ‘희망과 영감’으로 읽힐 수 있게 되기를 바란다.
정 몽 준
For the past year and a half, I have been the victim of constant harassment by FIFA Ethics Committee’s so-called “investigation.” The persecution only intensified when I announced my candidacy for the next FIFA presidential election. Immediately after the press reported in late July this year that I am preparing to announce my candidacy, the Ethics Committee’s Investigatory Chamber informed me that my case would be sent to the Adjudicatory Chamber, an action equivalent to a prosecutor sending his indictment to the judge. It requested a 15-year ban against me. Later, it requested 4 more years for my alleged defamation of the Ethics Committee.
Because of the Ethics Committee’s unjust sanctions, I will have to miss the October 26 deadline to file my candidacy. It is now time to officially withdraw my candidacy for the next FIFA President. Even though I cannot run in this election, I believe there is still much that I can do. As someone who loves football, I will continue to speak out frankly about FIFA’s problems.
Starting in March 2014, when I was in the midst of my campaign for the Mayor of Seoul, the Ethics Committee began its endless harassment in the name of an investigation. Even in the midst of my demanding election schedule, I tried my best to respond faithfully to innumerable questions sent to me. The report compiled by Michael Garcia, then Chairman of the Investigatory Chamber of FIFA’s Ethics Committee, said that the findings of his investigations were “all in all, not suited to compromise the integrity of the FIFA World Cup 2018/2022 bidding process as a whole.”
Then, on January 20, 2015 the Ethics Committee suddenly informed me that it was launching an official investigation against me. When in December, Mr. Geoff Thompson, the English ExCo member, claimed that he had traded votes with me back in 2010 the Ethics Committee must have thought that it had found a critical piece of evidence against me. Sending me a transcript of an interview between Mr. Garcia and Mr. Thompson the committee asked: “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?”
Mr. Thomson alleged that the vote-trading occurred 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, one day before the vote. Prime Minister Cameron and Dr. Lee Hong-Koo, former Prime Minister of Korea and Ambassador to Great Britain, were also present at the gathering. Mr. Thomson, however, did not even remember whether Prince William was present when he and I and PM Cameron were allegedly making this deal. I pointed out all these details and then asked: “Is it even conceivable that Mr. Thompson and I would be making an illicit ‘vote trading’ deal in such company? Is FIFA accusing Prince William and the Prime Minister of Great Britain of being complicit in vote trading the day before the vote?” The Ethics Committee dropped this charge.
The Ethics Committee also investigated me for sending letters to my fellow Executive Committee members about the Korean Bidding Committee’s announcement of the “Global Football Fund” (GFF). According to the Ethics Committee this “gave the appearance of offering benefits.” Relevant FIFA regulations that the Committee has referred to, however, first appeared only in the 2012 FIFA Code of Ethics, thus was nonexistent in 2010. It had been a time-honored tradition at FIFA for Executive Committee members to support the bid of their respective countries. Moreover, Secretary General Gerome Valcke wrote to me and Dr. Han Sung-joo, the Chairman of the Korea Bid Committee, in November 2010 to say that FIFA “deem[ed] the matter as closed.” Perhaps because of all this, the Ethics Committee dropped this allegation when it announced its sanctions against me last October 8.
Since early July, just before I announced my candidacy, my friends in FIFA that I encountered in Philadelphia and Vancouver were telling me that the Ethics Committee would try to prevent me from running. As soon as I announced my candidacy in Paris on August 17, media started to report that the Ethics Committee would sanction me. Confidential information that could only have come from the Ethics Committee was leaked to the press on numerous occasions. There was even media report that even my charitable donations to natural disaster victims in Haiti and Pakistan were the target of investigation. I formally requested the FIFA Disciplinary Committee to investigate the leaks, but the request was rejected due to “a lack of evidence.” When I reported the Asia Football Confederation’s illegal activities in mailing form letters to member states in support of Platini, the Ad-hoc Electoral Committee also promptly issued a perfunctory “no evidence” letter.
When I publicly protested the Ethics Committee’s unethical and unfair actions, it imposed 4 more years of sanction in addition to the original 15, this time for allegedly defaming the Ethics Committee.
When the Ethics Committee finally announced its decision on October 8, it sanctioned me for 6 years, not for my alleged violations of “vote-trading” or “the appearance of offering a benefit regarding the Global Football Fund,” but for violating such vague articles as “General obligation to collaborate,” “Duty of disclosure,” and “confidentiality.” Mr. Hans-Joachim Eckert, the Chairman of Adjudicatory Chamber who also claimed to be the victim of defamation by me, presided over my case as the judge.
The Ethics Committee’s claim that I have defamed its reputation is in itself a bad joke. As a New York Times article stated, “the word ‘FIFA’ coupled with word ‘ethics’ is seen by most as an oxymoron.” That the Ethics Committee claims to have any good reputation that could be defamed is a joke. If there is anyone who has been the object of defamation, it is me. As FIFA leaked information to the media, portraying me as an unethical person, I felt I was left naked, helpless to defend myself, as they repeatedly cut me with a sharp knife.
The FIFA Ethics Committee started the investigation against me as if I were involved in a major corruption case. However, when its case broke down during the investigation it concluded by imposing sanctions on me for trivial matters that arose during the investigation.
Even though I can no longer stand for FIFA President, there is much left for me to do. I will continue to work with all those who love football to bring about legitimate changes from within FIFA.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank my friends in the global football community, the media, and the Korean people for their support. Many enthusiastically supported my candidacy and efforts to reform FIFA although they could not do so publicly due to the atmosphere of fear created by FIFA. Thank you very much and I ask for your continued interest and support.
FIFA’s upcoming presidential election has already begun to lose its legitimacy. An election that is unable to bring about meaningful reforms would jeopardize FIFA’s very existence.
In 1998, FIFA held its first presidential election in 24 years. However, it was marred by allegations of election fraud. As this upcoming election is FIFA’s first de facto election in almost 20 years, the concern that FIFA has forgotten how to even hold an election is serious.
In this era of reform and openness, FIFA still operates under the shadow of secrecy and corruption. FIFA, although located in the heart of democratic Europe, persists in its anachronistic ways.
Under current circumstances, even if FIFA does follow through with the presidential election next year, meaningful reforms cannot be expected. FIFA’s culture of corruption cannot be uprooted just by changing the president and amending a few regulations. In contrast, FIFA’s self-contradiction will only deepen, disappointing football fans around the globe and precipitating an even greater crisis. Perhaps it is no longer possible to bring about legitimate change from within FIFA.
By imposing unjust sanctions against me, the FIFA Ethics Committee is telling me to stay away from FIFA. That is not a problem. I always believed that the FIFA presidency is merely a position of service, not power. However, I will find other ways to serve. I believe that the true way to serve FIFA is by continuing to speak out against FIFA’s hypocritical system.
To prevent future corruptions, thorough investigations of past corruptions must be carried out and culprits must be punished. President Blatter must be brought to justice. Blatter has evaded responsibility for the 2006 VISA-MasterCard Sponsorship Rights case, which was settled by FIFA paying MasterCard USD 90 million. President Blatter and Mr. Jerome Valcke, then marketing director of FIFA, should have paid the USD 90 million, not FIFA. I plan to sue Mr. Blatter after checking the statute of limitations on this case. President Blatter’s salary paid by FIFA without the Executive Committee’s approval is another case for potential lawsuit.
I look forward to working hand-in-hand with all those who love football around the world to revitalize football, not FIFA, as the source of “hope and inspiration.”