Double blow for Chung’s FIFA campaign

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A senior Japan Football Association (JFA) official has hinted that the country may not vote for South Korean candidate Chung Mong-joon at the FIFA presidential elections.

Kozo Tashima, vice-president of the JFA, told Sponichi Annex on Thursday that Japan was likely to follow the instructions of the Asian Football Confederation.

"Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa, president of the AFC, has expressed his support for UEFA President Michel Platini. It's important to have solidarity at the continental association," he said.

According to the Yonhap News agency, Tashima told Reuters in a separate interview that the JFA is yet to make a decision.

"We haven't decided who we will vote for; we should consider all candidates and the manifestos, what he is doing, what he has done. Sheikh Salman has already recommended Michel Platini."

The news that he may not have all of Asia’s support will be a blow to Chung’s campaign, and comes in the wake of news that Fifa have launched an investigation into charitable donations he made during his tenure as a vice-president with the organisation.

Chung is reported to have made two large cash donations to Pakistan, first donating $400 000 after floods there in 2010 and then donating another $500 000 after an earthquake that same year.

After learning of the investigation, Chung released a statement condemning it as “a cynical and unethical effort by FIFA to misrepresent even charitable donations for political manipulation”.

Chung, who announced his candidacy in Paris, France on Monday, served as a FIFA vice president from 1994 to 2011 and the Korea Football Association chairman from 1993 to 2009.

The FIFA presidential elections take place on February 26 in 2016.