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FIFA Chung says report of investigation proof of Blatter sabotage

It was the latest in a series of allegations and counter-allegations surrounding candidates in the increasingly heated race to replace Blatter amid the worst crisis in FIFA's history.

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Former FIFA vice-president Chung Mong-joon of South Korea attends a news conference to formally launch his bid to become president of world soccer's governing body in Paris, France, August 17, 2015. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol play Former FIFA vice-president Chung Mong-joon of South Korea attends a news conference to formally launch his bid to become president of world soccer's governing body in Paris, France, August 17, 2015. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol

FIFA presidential candidate Chung Mong-Joon said on Saturday that a report he was being investigated by the soccer body's ethics committee was proof that outgoing president Sepp Blatter was trying to interfere in his campaign and should step down.

German newspaper Die Welt reported on Friday that South Korean Chung was facing an investigation into his involvement in a 2010 plan to set up a global football development fund related to South Korea’s bid for the 2022 World Cup.

It was the latest in a series of allegations and counter-allegations surrounding candidates in the increasingly heated race to replace Blatter amid the worst crisis in FIFA's history.

No one was available for comment from soccer's global governing body which was thrown into turmoil when U.S. prosecutors indicted nine soccer officials and five marketing and broadcasting company executives in May over alleged offences, including fraud, money-laundering and racketeering.

Chung's office said on Saturday South Korea had submitted plans for a development fund linked to its bid, as all countries applying to host the world cup were required to do.

The statement from Chung's spokesman, Lin Byung-taik, said FIFA General Secretary Jerome Valcke had assured Chung in 2010 that the development fund was not being investigated, though it did not comment on the possibility of more recent investigations.

“This (media report) is yet another clear proof that President Blatter is interfering in the upcoming FIFA presidential election,” he added, without spelling out how he thought Blatter was involved.

“FIFA is engaged in a self-defeating attempt to sabotage Dr. Chung’s candidacy ... President Blatter should stop intervening in the election and resign immediately,” he added.

Current regulations bar FIFA's Ethics committee from commenting on any cases.

But a FIFA ethics report in November last year said Chung had sent letters relating to South Korean intentions to raise$777 million to build new football infrastructure and renovate existing facilities, without alleging any wrongdoing relating to that bid.

It concluded: "There are certain indications of potentially problematic conduct of specific individuals in the light of relevant FIFA Ethics rules," without naming any individuals.

A spokesman for Cornel Borbely, head of FIFA's Investigatory Chamber, declined to comment on whether any steps were being taken in response to that report.

Chung, a former FIFA vice-president who has yet to win any public declarations of support from national associations, said at the outset of his campaign that he feared Blatter would sabotage his bid.

Blatter, due to step down after an election in February for a replacement, has not himself been accused of any wrongdoing, but his stewardship of the organisation since 1998 has been heavily criticised.

UEFA president Michel Platini is seen as the front runner in the bid to replace Blatter.

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