Soccer: Banned Oceania official speaks out

Australia's World Cup 2022 bid received a blow last night after Oceania soccer chief Reynald Temarii was banned from soccer administration for 12 months.

Temarii's absence will hurt Australia, who were counting on his vote for their FIFA World Cup hosting bid.

Now Temarii, who was suspended for ethics breaches in a World Cup bidding scandal, says world football's governing body must review the selection process.

Temarii told AFP he was resigned to being sidelined from the vote to choose the hosts for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups on December 2, although he intends to appeal against the sanction by the FIFA ethics committee.

"I obviously respect the ethics committee's decision even if I do not entirely share its (view)," he said after the ruling here.

"I intend to come back to FIFA and be one of the drivers that will allow FIFA to correct its structures. We need to considerably improve (its) internal organisation," Temarii added in an interview with AFP in a Zurich hotel.

"Is it ethical or desirable that members of the executive committee belonging to federations that are candidates for the World Cup can take part in these votes? That's one of the questions that needs to be asked internally."

The president of the Oceania football confederation and suspended FIFA executive committee member underlined that European football governing body UEFA ruled out the practice in its decision-making for its championships.

Out of the nine World Cup candidates, only Australia has no representation on the FIFA executive committee, with just 22 members now able to vote.

Temarii claimed FIFA faced a "serious problem" because he had stated that his votes for the 2018 and 2022 hosts would have reflected the choices of the Oceania confederation's executive committee.

Temarii was suspended for one year for breaches of the governing body's code of ethical conduct. Allegations of bribery against him were not upheld.

The suspension followed a British newspaper report last month alleging undercover reporters posing as lobbyists for the US bid filmed Temarii demanding three million NZ dollars (2.3 million US) to set up a sports academy in Auckland in return for his support.

The result of his six hour ethics hearing in Zurich was "relatively positive to the extent that ... the allegations of corruption that I have been subjected to by the Sunday Times have definitely been ruled out by the ethics committee," Temarii said.

He claimed he was tricked as just over four minutes of some 90 minutes of edited video was published by the newspaper.

"During the interview I must have said 15 times... that in no way was I interested in voting for the United States.

"I clearly said, 'Keep your money'."

England, Russia and joint bids by Spain-Portugal and Netherlands-Belgium are in the running to host the 2018 World Cup, while Australia, the United States, Japan, Qatar and South Korea are bidding for 2022.

- AFP, NZHERALD STAFF

- NZ Herald

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