Posted : 2013-01-28 16:37
Updated : 2013-01-28 16:37

Ex-K League chief to head KFA

Former K League Commissioner Chung Mong-gyu poses after being elected president of the Korea Football Association (KFA) in Seoul, Monday. /Yonhap

By Kang Seung-woo

Former K League Commissioner Chung Mong-gyu was elected president of the Korea Football Association (KFA), Monday.

The 51-year-old chairman of Hyundai Development Company will serve a four-year term through 2016.

"I want to share the joy with all those in the football circle," said Chung.

"I will try to make football a culture that everyone can enjoy."

In a four-way race, Chung took on former KFA Vice Chairman Heo Seung-pyo, Korea Middle School Football Association Chairman Kim Seok-han and Yoon Sang-hyun, a two-term lawmaker of the ruling Saenuri Party. In the first round of voting Chung received seven votes, one less than Heo, while Kim and Yoon had six and three votes, respectively, from a 24-member panel. The selection panel comprised of 16 heads of municipal and provincial football governing bodies and eight presidents of KFA-affiliated football federations.

But KFA regulations state that the winning candidate must receive a majority of the ballots, so there was a second round of voting between just Chung and Heo as the top two contenders from the first round.

Chung then garnered 15 votes to Heo's nine.

"It seems that the sincerity I expressed during my campaign delivered in the second round."

Chung, a younger cousin of honorary KFA Chairman and former FIFA Vice President Chung Mong-joon, has been the owner of Busan I'Park since 2000 and previously owned Ulsan Hyundai and Jeonbuk Dinos, a forerunner of Jeonbuk Motors, for a combined six years.

In January 2011, Chung Mong-gyu, a native of Seoul, took the helm of the K League, but his first year was marred by a massive match-fixing scandal that saw dozens of former and active players indicted and convicted. After going through one of the stormiest time in the sport's local history, he introduced the first split league system here last year and promotion and relegation between the top two divisions will begin this year, with both moves proving popular with fans.

For Heo, 66, this result was another bitter blow in his quest to hold the top KFA job. The chairman of telecommunications equipment manufacturer Peopleworks lost the 1997 election to Chung Mong-joon and was defeated again in 2009 by Cho Chung-yun.

The KFA presidency is one of the most coveted administrative sports jobs in the nation. The football governing body's annual budget is typically around 100 billion won ($92 million), and its official sponsors include some of the country's largest companies, which helps the KFA remain independent financially and administratively.

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