South Korean football chief earns FIFA Council seat

Michelle Jung, May 8, 2017, 9:32 a.m.

SEOUL, May 8 (Yonhap) -- South Korean football chief Chung Mong-gyu has won a seat on FIFA's main decision-making body.

Chung, who leads the Korea Football Association (KFA), was elected by acclamation to a FIFA Council membership along with Mariano Araneta of the Philippines and Zhang Jian of China at the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Congress in Manama, Bahrain, on Monday. They were each given a two-year term that ends in 2019.

For the one FIFA Council seat allocated for women, Mahfuza Akhter Kiron of Bangladesh edged out Moya Dodd of Australia after earning 27 votes from 45 AFC members who casted votes. Han Un-gyong of North Korea and Susan R. A. Shalabi of Palestine withdrew their candidacies before the election took place.

They will join existing Asian members on the FIFA Council -- Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa of Bahrain, Prince Abdullah Ibni Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah of Malaysia, and Kohzo Tashima of Japan.

This is the first time since 2011 that a South Korean has taken a seat on FIFA's supervisory body. Chung's older cousin and former FIFA Vice President Chung Mong-joon previously served on the now-abolished FIFA Executive Committee from 1994 to 2011. As part of reform measures following a corruption scandal involving FIFA executives, the 25-member FIFA Executive Committee was transformed into a FIFA Council of 37 members last year.

Four FIFA Council seats were open to Asia this time, with one position to be filled by a woman. Originally, the men's side had four candidates vying for three spots, but Kuwaiti representative Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah last week pulled out of the race, which allowed Chung and other two contestants to take the FIFA Council seats without voting.

Sheikh Ahmad, the Olympic Council of Asia president and the International Olympic Committee member, sought re-election to the FIFA Council, but withdrew his candidacy following his alleged involvement in a bribery scandal that also includes Guam football chief Richard Lai.

Chung has entered the FIFA's core body on his second attempt. The 55-year-old previously came up short in the 2015 election.

"I'm very happy to be elected after my second try," Chung said through the KFA. "I will try my best to improve the football diplomacy of South Korea. I will also speak up at FIFA so that Asian football development plans can become reality."

   Chung was also officially elected the AFC East Zone Vice President at the AFC Congress, a position he will hold until 2019.

Chung, chairman of construction giant Hyundai Development Co., is a veteran sports administrator. He has been at the helm of the KFA since 2013. Previously, he was the commissioner of the K League, which operates domestic professional football competitions.

Chung also served as chef de mission for South Korea at the Rio de Janeiro Summer Olympics last year.

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