The $3 million a top Fifa official was caught asking for in a British newspaper sting is believed to have been for a rundown soccer facility at Mt Smart Stadium in Auckland.

The Oceania Football Confederation has been looking to upgrade its headquarters there and the adjacent Charles J. Dempsey Academy.

It is difficult to imagine the glum block of offices and the single football pitch in Penrose could be at the centre of a global football scandal.

But the Sunday Times revealed this week that Oceania chief Reynald Temarii had apparently sought a handout to establish an academy in Auckland in exchange for his support of a World Cup hosting bid.

Mr Temarii, 43, told a reporter posing as a lobbyist: "When people come to see me, I usually say, 'What will be the impact of your bid in my region? If there is something concrete on the table, then it's interesting to discuss. If not, forget it ...'."

Mr Temarii also said: "We need to improve the academy, we need to extend with rooms, with boardrooms, we need to have one artificial pitch."

Football officials said they could not speculate on what Mr Temarii was referring to, but believed he wanted to improve the Oceania offices, grounds and academy.

New Zealand Football's representative on the Oceania executive, Fred de Jong, pointed out that the academy already existed - at Mt Smart - and that any funding would be used to develop the facility into a technical centre for the confederation. Since its inception, the Mt Smart building has been Oceania's base but the offices were moved last weekend to enable the move towards a full technical facility to proceed.

The Charles J. Dempsey Academy was set up in 1999 at a cost of $1.2 million, and was part-funded by Fifa and the Auckland City Council.

It has been used for grooming talented young footballers and coaching, refereeing and administrative facilities for all 11 member countries of the confederation.

Auckland City Football Club chairman Ivan Vuksich, whose engineering company has constructed several football grounds, guessed that the Oceania academy would be the most likely recipient of any major upgrade.

"There's been talk over the years of another playing pitch with lights ... something a lot better. The field that is there is only about three-quarter size."

An artificial pitch with lights would cost $1.5 million or more.

Mr Vuksich noted that no academy in Auckland could afford an artificial pitch out of its own funding, and would need council backing or major sponsorship.

The accusations of corruption against Mr Temarii and five other Fifa officials have undermined the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

Mr Temarii has been suspended for 30 days while Fifa investigates the bribery claims. Soccer commentators said the fact that Mr Temarii allegedly asked for resources for his region, and not cash upfront, indicated how institutionalised corruption had become at Fifa.