January 07, 2011 11:44
Honorary President of the Korea Football Association Chung Mong-joon failed to win a fifth term as FIFA vice president. In elections in Doha, Qatar on Thursday, Chung garnered 20 votes out of 45, losing to Jordan's Prince Ali bin Hussein by five votes.
Chung has held the vice presidency since 1994. He will also step down from the FIFA's Executive Committee.
The Hyundai Heavy Industries owner was originally considered a favorite given his established reputation and influence in the international sports world. But Prince Ali (36), the president of the Jordan Football Association and founder of the 13-member West Asian Football Federation, strategically targeted Southeast Asian countries while drawing on guaranteed support from Middle Eastern countries.
Chung already felt the power of the Middle East when Qatar won the bid to host the 2022 World Cup at the FIFA Executive Committee meeting in Zurich last month.
Meanwhile, in elections for the presidency of the Asian Football Confederation the same day, Mohamed Bin Hammam, the only candidate, secured another term. This means the mainstream of Asian football shifted completely to the Middle East.
Chung's failure to maintain the FIFA vice presidency was partly due to conflict with FIFA President Sepp Blatter and AFC President Bin Hammam. There have been rampant rumors that Blatter was distancing himself form Chung because the Korean was a potential rival to his presidency. He is going for his fourth term as FIFA president in the election in June.
Blatter was spotted talking with a number of heads of football associations from around the world during the elections, apparently campaigning for Ali, who also had the support of Bin Hammam.
Chung's failure is likely to damage his chances of becoming a presidential candidate for the ruling Grand National Party. His status in international football has been a huge political asset for him, and without it the National Assembly member for Ulsan could struggle in future political contests.
The loss also comes as a blow to Korea, which also lost its big influence in the International Olympics Committee when former IOC vice president Kim Un-yong stepped down in disgrace over bribery charges. There are eight FIFA vice presidents, three from Europe and one each from the other continents.
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