ZURICH — An emergency task force should be set up to run FIFA during its leadership crisis, South Korean presidential contender Chung Mong-joon said Tuesday.
With President Sepp Blatter under criminal investigation and general secretary Jerome Valcke suspended from work and being investigated by the FIFA ethics committee, Chung said soccer’s governing body is in "total meltdown."
"Under such circumstances, FIFA and regional confederations should consider convening extraordinary sessions of their respective executive committee(s) as well as congress to set-up an emergency task force that will enable FIFA secretariat to function without interruption," Chung, a former vice-president under Blatter, said in a statement from South Korea.
Among Chung’s potential rivals in February’s election is UEFA President Michel Platini, who has been questioned as a witness over a payment from FIFA — one of the reasons Blatter was interrogated on Friday by Swiss authorities. Blatter and Platini denied wrongdoing as they await news from the FIFA ethics committee, which is looking into the case.
Chung sees the scandals as an opportunity to take control on Feb. 26 in an election prompted by Blatter’s sudden resignation statement in June, four days after being re-elected for a fifth term.
"FIFA is currently facing an unprecedented crisis," Chung said. "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."
Chung, a billionaire businessman and member of the family that founded Hyundai, was a FIFA vice-president for 17 years until 2011.
"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," the South Korean said.