- Associated Press - Thursday, April 6, 2017

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - Chung Mong-joon’s bid to replace Sepp Blatter as FIFA president may have ended prematurely in 2015, but the South Korean has vowed to continue the fight against what he called Blatter’s continuing influence at soccer’s governing body.

Chung said Thursday at a media conference that he would appeal a six-year ban, later reduced to five years, to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Chung announced in 2015 that he would run against Blatter for soccer’s top job, but the attempt ended after he was banned from soccer-related activities by the organization for infringing a FIFA ethics code during South Korea’s failed bid to host the 2022 World Cup.

A FIFA vice-president from 1994 to 2011, Chung, 65, said at a press conference in Seoul on Thursday that by clearing his name he can help FIFA, which has been plagued by corruption scandals in recent years, continue reforms made after Blatter was forced to step down in December 2015.

“When one looks at the key members of the Ethics Committee and the Appeal Committee who were put there by Blatter, I realize that this is not the end of FIFA’s reform but only the beginning,” Chung said. “I will seek all means possible to fight this, including an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.”

Blatter was replaced by Italian Gianni Infantino in February 2016, but Chung says supporters of the long-serving Swiss president are still in positions of power.

“I really expect that Infantino will change lots of things for FIFA, but Blatter’s people are still on the Ethics Committee and Appeal Committee,” he said. “It’s going to take some time, but I will do everything in my power to make FIFA clean.”

Although the FIFA Appeals Committee reduced the ban to five years in July 2016, Chung complained that FIFA has been dragging out his case deliberately.

“Because the Ethics Committee had previously taken six months to send its reasoned decision, I can finally prepare to file an appeal to CAS, some 18 months after the original ban was imposed,” he said Thursday. “This is like a court carrying out the execution of the defendant, then sending out the ruling 18 months later. This is malicious behavior.”

Chung, a son of the founder of South Korea’s Hyundai conglomerate, denied that he is seeking to return to a prominent position in the world of soccer.

“My goal is not to take high-ranking positions in FIFA again,” he said. “Who is going to do this kind of work besides me? I think this is my given duty.”

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