OFC keeping its trap shut about Cup corruption
The Oceania Football Confederation says it won't be commenting on fresh UK newspaper allegations, concerning one of it's former bosses and the 2022 World Cup voting process, until world body FIFA completes an inquiry.
London's The Sunday Times has alleged former OFC president Reynald 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 says it has now obtained a "huge email cache" of secrets over how Qatar won the right to host the tournament.
One of its 11 pages of reporting - sub-headed "The Pacific Link" - was devoted to the OFC and Temarii.
For two days the OFC has failed to respond to interview requests but, in the wake of New Zealand Football boss Andy Martin asking transparency around the latest allegations, has released a short statement.
"Stories concerning the Oceania Football Confederation and the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 bidding process have appeared in the media this week. As the matter remains before the FIFA ethics committee, OFC does not wish to do anything that may undermine that process and is awaiting the outcome of the inquiry before making any further statement," the statement read.
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 bid.
Among questionable payments allegedly made by Bin Hammam were those wired to then FIFA officials Jack 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 World Cup, with the FFA saying it is "keenly interested" to see the results of a continuing investigation of the Qatari bid.
FIFA chief investigator Michael Garcia says he expects to submit a final report next month.