SEOUL – South Korea’s soccer governing body on Tuesday demanded an apology from the head of the Asian Football Confederation, Mohamed bin Hammam, for recently insulting a top South Korean football official, Yonhap News Agency reported.
“He must offer an open apology for his remarks,” Yoo Young Cheol, spokesman for the Korea Football Association, was quoted by Yonhap as saying.
During a television interview last week, bin Hammam said he was ready to “cut the head off” of KFA President Cho Chung Yun, insisting several Asian soccer officials, South Koreans among them, were plotting to deprive him of his seat on the executive committee of soccer world’s governing body FIFA.
“Some people have launched a campaign against me. Maybe they don’t like me, a man from the desert, being at the helm,” bin Hammam was quoted by Qatari television station Al Kaas as saying, according to Yonhap.
In response, Yoo said the KFA “strongly denounces AFC President bin Hammam for making unutterable and improper remarks (against South Korean football officials) in media interviews.”
The spokesman also warned that the KFA would take concerted action with other AFC member nations and file a petition against the AFC chief with the FIFA, if necessary.
Bin Hammam, a Qatari national, is seeking re-election to the FIFA Executive Committee, but he faces stiff opposition from Bahrain Football Association President Shaikh Salman bin Ibrahim al Khalifa.
In the interview, bin Hammam was quoted as saying Shaikh Salman is not campaigning against him on his own, “he is doing this at the instruction of others, especially people in the (South) Korean federation.”
Bin Hammam has said he would resign as AFC chief if he fails to retain his FIFA Executive Committee seat in elections in May.
Yoo, the KFA spokesman, said Bin Hammam “was supposed to work to build unity and harmony (within the Asian football community), but has instead instigated conflict and confrontation.”
After his remarks caused a controversy, bin Hammam reportedly said he had merely employed “a popular, harmless and widely used Arabic metaphor” that is used to halt someone’s plans.
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