More revelations in Pacific World Cup scandal

SIMON PLUMB
Last updated 05:00 05/06/2014
Andy Martin
Photosport
TOP MAN: New Zealand Football CEO Andy Martin.

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New Zealand Football boss Andy Martin wants transparency around the latest allegations to hit the Oceania Football Confederation.

But the OFC itself remains silent on the allegations involving its former boss Reynald Temarii.

London's The Sunday Times has alleged former OFC president Temarii received NZ$500,000 towards legal fees and private detective costs from Qatari interests seeking support for their successful bid to host the 2022 World Cup.

Four years after Temarii was cleared of corruption charges by Fifa's ethics committee, The Sunday Times said it now had a "huge email cache" of secrets over how Qatar won the right to host the 2022 Fifa World Cup.

One of its 11 pages of reporting - sub-headed "The Pacific Link" - was devoted to the OFC and Temarii.

For the second day, OFC secretary general Tai Nicholas did not respond to an interview request from Stuff.

However, new NZF boss Martin has spoken of his organisation's position on the issue.

Martin said he wanted to see the facts emerge and the situation handled transparently.

"New Zealand Football was unaware of the fresh allegations made by The Sunday Times. We're working with Oceania Football to understand the situation in more detail ahead of the Fifa congress in Brazil next week," Martin said.

"It's a new one for me. We're talking to OFC and we've got their congress next week to understand exactly the context. We [NZF] just want to make sure that it's dealt with fairly, properly and transparently.

"I want to find out the facts and understand the situation and how the OFC are going to react to the allegations. That's the important thing and it will come up at the congress."

Stuff has revealed that Fifa chief investigator Michael Garcia recently flew former Football Federation Australia corporate affairs manager Bonita Mersiades to the United States to confidentially interview her about the way Australia sought to win the backing of soccer chiefs in 2010.

On Monday, FFA boss David Gallop refused to rule out the possibility of Australia re-entering the race to host the 2022 World Cup if Qatar was stripped of the event after a vote-buying scandal involving the Gulf state erupted in the media over the weekend.

Stuff has also revealed that Garcia has probed Australia's interaction with two former Fifa officials, Jack Warner and Temarii, who had a list of demands for the FFA to meet in return for his World Cup vote, including Hyundai vehicles for Oceania member federations and financial assistance to soccer in the region.

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Over the weekend, The Sunday Times exposed an alleged bid-buying racket run by former Fifa executive committee member Qatari Mohamed Bin Hammam.

It allegedly involved payments totalling about US$5 million to football officials in return for getting them to support Qatar's ultimately successful World Cup bid.

Among questionable payments allegedly made by Bin Hammam were those wired to then Fifa officials Warner and Temarii. Both were former Fifa executives whom Australia was lobbying in a controversial manner in 2010.

The revelations of the Bin Hammam payments have sparked intense debate about whether to challenge Qatar's right to host the 2022 World Cup, with the FFA saying it is "keenly interested" to see the results of a continuing Fifa investigation of the Qatari bid.

- Stuff

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