|Korea Football Association (KFA) President Cho Chung-yun speaks at a press conference in Seoul, Thursday. / Yonhap|
By Jung Min-ho
Korea Football Association (KFA) President Cho Chung-yun said Thursday that he "will not run for a second term" in next January's election.
"Now is the time to leave ... I hope someone, who is truly sincere in football, will be elected as the next president," Cho said. "Since joining the KFA as chief director 15 years ago, working at the organization has been really meaningful. The organization has grown from 20 employees and an annual budget of 7 billion won ($6.4 million) to one with about 100 employees and 110 billion won."
Under Cho's leadership, Korea has attained such accomplishments as reaching the round of 16 at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, the first time Korea made it passed the group stage on foreign soil. The Olympic team also won the nation's first football medal, winning bronze at the London Games this summer.
However, Cho and the football body came under fire for the controversial firing of the former national team manager Cho Kwang-rae, prompting questions whether the decision had been made following the proper procedures. In August, the KFA's poorly-written letter of apology to its Japanese counterpart after Park Jong-woo's controversial celebration in the win over Japan at the Olympics also drew a lot of flak. The midfielder held up a Korean sign that read, "Dokdo is our territory" following Korea's 2-0 victory. Dokdo is Korea's easternmost islets that Japan has laid claim to.
"In doing my job with passion, I have made some achievements as well as administrative errors," Cho said. In an earlier statement last month the KFA president said he "feels bad that negative things (on his watch) have been emphasized and exaggerated, while the positive ones have not been highlighted."
Pointing out that "attempts (have been made) to encourage conflict within the organization," Cho said the election for the KFA's top post should be a process where officials discuss visions for the sport instead of fighting for personal gain.
"After leaving the KFA, I would like to play a role as a veteran in the sport giving advice to the young footballers," he added. Cho was both a player and manager in Korea before joining the KFA.
K-League President Jung Mong-gyu and Hyundai Oilbank CEO Kwon Oh-gap are being touted as possible candidates for the post.