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Asian war of words gets personal
AFC chief accused of acting like he has 'mental problems' by Fifa vice-president.
Last Modified: 07 May 2009 09:01 GMT

Chung has not enjoyed a friendly relationship with Bin Hammam of late [EPA]
The struggle for power in Asian football has intensified with an astonishing attack by a Fifa vice-president on the region's football chief Mohamed Bin Hammam.

South Korean Chung Mong-Joon said the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) president needed to "seek psychiatric help" on the eve of a vote to decide a West Asian representative for the executive committee of Fifa, the sport's world governing body.

"I am afraid that Mr Hammam may be a sick person who needs to be at a hospital rather than at Fifa," the tycoon and politician said on Thursday.

Chung claimed Qatari Hammam was "acting like a head of a crime organisation" and that Asian football was now suffering from a serious lack of transparency, democracy and rule of law.

'Mental problems'

"It looks like Mr Hammam is suffering from mental problems. I want to advise him to consider going to hospital.

"In the beginning he was not like he is today.

"Mr Hammam should have tried to be the type of leader who works hard to unite rather than divide and rule."

A spokesman for the Qatari would not comment on Chung's attack.

Chung launched the personal offensive as Bahrain's Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim al-Khalifa challenges incumbent Bin Hammam for the executive committee seat.

Bin Hammam, who has held the Fifa position unopposed since 1996, has vowed to also step down as AFC president if defeated.

Intimidation

The two campaigns have been riddled with allegations of power abuse, intimidation and vote-buying, with bin Hammam's opponents in East Asia, Southeast Asia and the Gulf weighing in with scathing criticism of his rule.

Bin Hammam believes Sheikh Salman's challenge is part of a vendetta and has pulled no punches in chiding the rivals he claims had plotted to use the Bahraini to oust him.

Bin Hammam had previously appeared on television using a metaphor alluding to cutting off Chung's limbs and his head which angered the Korean, but he later said his comments had been an Arabic metaphor which had been misinterpreted.

The AFC's congress will vote on the Fifa seat on Friday.

Source:
Agencies
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