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Sunday, January 16, 2011

Fifa: Even if we are wrong, we are right

by SIMON PLUMB - Sunday Star Times
Last updated 05:00 16/01/2011
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Fifa has confirmed successful appeals from suspended executive committee delegates Reynald Temarii and Amos Adamu will not affect the results of December's controversial 2018 and 2022 World Cup ballots.
Both delegates were suspended for alleged corruption last October and were banned from the World Cup voting.
The possibility of reinstatement had cast doubts over legality of those votes – which awarded Russia the 2018 World Cup and Qatar the 2022 cup.
Last week Fairfax Media revealed Fifa had formally written to the Oceania Federation's Temarii clearing him of all corruption charges and that the suspended world football vice-president was pushing on with a campaign to overturn the nine months remaining on his ban for "breaching Fifa confidentiality and loyalty".
Yesterday, Temarii told the Sunday Star-Times he was optimistic his ban would at least be reduced by Fifa's appeal committee. However, were the ban to be completely wiped out, Temarii said he had "no idea" whether that would render the original World Cup ballots conducted in Zurich on December 2 null and void – meaning the entire process would need to be started over, this time with Temarii part of a 23-man committee.
But overnight a Fifa spokesman responded to Star-Times inquiries, confirming neither Temarii's nor Adamu's appeals, regardless of result, would prompt new ballots.
"The appeal of both Mr Temarii and Mr Adamu will not impact on the ballots that took place on 2 December for the 2018 and 2022 Fifa World Cup competitions," said the spokesman.
"After the provisional suspension on 20 October 2010, the Fifa executive committee, among other topics, approved the voting process to determine the hosts of the 2018 and 2022 Fifa World Cup competitions during their meeting on October 28-29.
"We confirm that Mr Temarii and Mr Adamu have appealed against the decisions of the Ethics Committee, and a date for the meeting of the Appeals Committee will be confirmed in due course."
Today's Oceania Football Congress meeting in American Samoa could rock New Zealand Football to its core.
This afternoon Temarii will be officially replaced as boss of the Oceania Football Confederation and Fifa vice-president at the OFC congress in Pago Pago.
Three candidates will stand before Fifa president Sepp Blatter, including New Zealand Football chairman Frank van Hattum and board director Fred de Jong – though van Hattum told the Star-Times last week one of the Kiwi pair may yet stand down.
Regardless, David Chung of Papua New Guinea is expected to collect a landslide victory.

The big shock being tipped by insiders lies within the second election, for the OFC executive committee, with it rumoured the Kiwis' opposition to Chung – in addition to outspoken comments in the media recently – are set to leave New Zealand Football without a representative on the seven-person committee.
Once source told the Star-Times last week: "There's a very real danger that New Zealand will be kicked off the executive over the weekend. Their [de Jong and van Hattum's] actions, and comments recently, have not gone down very well with other members. Not well at all."
Before today, de Jong was the only NZ Football official on the OFC executive. Were he to lose that place, the consequences would be catastrophic for the Kiwi game – with funding the major concern. Every major decision the OFC would make over the next four years could have no New Zealand input at all.

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