Hamman gets surprise lift as Korean rival backs his Fifa campaign

Click to follow
The Independent Football

Mohamed bin Hammam received a boost to his campaign to become Fifa president yesterday when he was backed by his former foe and ex-Fifa executive committee member Chung Mong-joon.

The 61-year-old faces a tough ask in ousting incumbent Sepp Blatter as head of football's world governing body in the June election, with the Swiss having held the position for 13 years.

Hammam sat alongside as Dr Chung, who famously questioned the Qatari's mental health two years ago at the Asian Football Confederation Congress, said he was the right man for the job.

"We welcome the candidacy of Asian Football Confederation president Mohammed bin Hammam," Chung said in Seoul. "Blatter has served as Fifa secretary general and president for 30 years. Now it's time for him to give way to a new person."

Chung, who surprisingly lost his Fifa vice-president seat to Prince Ali of Jordan at the AFC Congress in January, remains an influential figure in the world game, having been part of the Fifa executive committee since 1994 and with his family owning the giant Hyundai conglomerate. The Korean, honorary chairman of the Korean Football Association (KFA), was once considered a possible challenger to Blatter at the Fifa congress in Zurich and his presence in Hammam's campaign could help to sway votes.

Hammam, who is touring the world canvassing support, launched his campaign to become the first Asian president of Fifa two weeks ago in Kuala Lumpur when he revealed a manifesto based on making the organisation more open to the public.

Chung questioned Blatter's popularity. "In terms of finances, Fifa is more successful than the IOC [International Olympic Committee] and the president should be admired, beloved and respected but Blatter is not.

"I can't say Hammam is perfect but he is the right candidate to bring change and revolution to Fifa."