Conflict of Interest

I was under scrutiny by the Ethics Committee for letters I sent to my fellow Executive Committee members explaining a proposal by the Korean Bidding Committee to launch a “Global Football Fund” (GFF), which according to the Ethics Committee “appeared” improper.

For Executive Committee members to support the bid of their countries is not only a time-honored tradition at FIFA, but also a natural, patriotic thing to do. Moreover, there were no FIFA regulations that prohibit ExCo members from supporting their countries’ bid.  That is why, in addition to myself, all ExCo members whose countries bid for the 2018 and 2022 Games, namely, Angel Maria Villar of Spain, Geoff Thompson of England, Michel D’Hooghe of Belgium, Mohamed Bin Hammam of Qatar, Junji Ogura of Japan, and Vitaly Mutko of Russia actively campaigned for their respective countries’ bid.

There was nothing unusual about GFF. The GFF was perfectly in line with the football development projects that FIFA asked every bidding country to propose as part of their bid requirement.

No money or personal favors were exchanged in relation to GFF and no such charges were made against me.

England’s bid team for the 2018 World Cup proposed a “Football United” fund which was described as, “a unique chance to create a new global fund for football that aims to match FIFA’s current spend on football development . . . imagine what this would mean for your Confederation.”

If the scope of Football United fund was intended to “match FIFA’s current spend on football development,” this would overwhelm the GFF by 10 times.

In 2010, FIFA had been aware of the existence of my letters, investigated the “issue” and ultimately determined the matter closed. Secretary General Valcke wrote to me and Dr. Han Sung-joo, the Chairman of the Korea Bid Committee, that “[b]ased on explanations given by you and Dr. Mo[ng]-Joon Chung, please be informed that we consider the integrity of the Bidding Process not to be affected and consequently deem the matter as closed.”