Fifa official says Asian football chief a lunatic

The enmity between the two most powerful men in Asian football plunged new depths today when Fifa vice-president Chung Mong-joon said his rival Mohamad Bin Hammam was suffering mental problems and acting like a criminal.

Hammam, the Asian Football Confederation president, is facing a challenge for his seat on Fifa's executive committee from Bahrain's Sheik Salman bin Ebrahim Al-Khalifa, with the vote on Friday at an AFC Congress. Hammam said he will also stand down as AFC president if he loses.



Hammam had accused Chung of bankrolling Salman's campaign, something the Hyundai powerbroker denied.



South Korean Chung told a news conference Thursday that Hammam is "acting like the head of a crime organization. It looks like Mr. Hammam is suffering from mental problems. I want to advise him to consider going to hospital."



The two men have a long history of animosity. Both had been considered as possible future Fifa presidents. While Chung outranks Hammam within Fifa, the situation is reversed within the AFC.



Chung said Asian football is facing its most "critical challenge" in history with the 46 member nations of AFC "deeply divided and full of distrust and hatred."



"If he (Hammam) continues on the current path, it will be very difficult for our Asian football community to stay together," Chung said. "Asian football is now suffering from a serious lack of transparency, democracy and rule of law."



Hammam's critics accuse him of being an autocrat who has usurped the powers of AFC's executive committee and its members. They also say he has silenced critics and treated the AFC as a personal fiefdom.



Hammam caused uproar earlier this year when he barred five countries — Kuwait, Mongolia, East Timor, Afghanistan and Laos — from Friday's vote on procedural grounds. He has said he would ignore a Fifa directive that found them eligible.



The AFC's 24-member executive committee met Thursday and upheld Hammam's decision on Kuwait. But they recommended that the other four countries be allowed to vote.



However, Chung said there is still confusion on whether they can vote or not, and a final decision would be taken by the AFC Congress on Friday, just before the vote.



Hammam says Kuwait is ineligible to vote as its football association was being run by an interim body. He barred the other four countries because of their non-participation in regional competitions over the past two years.



The election campaign has been mired in a raft of no-holds-barred allegations and counter-allegations by both sides.



Hammam's anger with Chung and the South Korean Football Association was made plain early in the campaign, when the Qatari said he would chop off the head of Korean FA president Cho Chung-yun. He later said the Arabic words he used were not literal, and akin to the English saying "heads will roll".



Chung accused Hammam of using Fifa's Goal Program, which has millions of dollars at its disposal for developing the game, as his "private fund."



"Tomorrow's election ... represents an opportunity for us to choose a new leader who can put Asian football back in the right direction," he said.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable