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Important news that might have ramifications for Oceania and the rest of the World...
Accused Oceania football chief 'protests innocence'
WELLINGTON (AFP) - A FIFA official from Oceania who is accused of offering to sell his vote in the 2018 World Cup bidding insists he was innocent and is vowing to clear his name, it was reported Wednesday.
Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) president Reynald Temarii said he was quoted out of context in a British newspaper expose which alleged he solicited money in return for his vote, the website insideworldfootball.biz reported.
"I am 100 percent convinced of my integrity … I will prove I am an honest man," he told the British-based website.
The Sunday Times alleged it filmed Temarii, who is also a FIFA vice president, demanding 2.3 million US dollars to set up a sports academy in Auckland from undercover journalists posing as bid lobbyists.
He and Nigeria's Amos Adamu have been summoned to appear before FIFA's ethics committee in Zurich later Wednesday as part of a probe into the newspaper sting.
Temarii said the footage released by the Sunday Times did not give a true picture of what occurred.
"You have only heard 15 seconds of the interview," he said. "Maybe you should hear the full 45 minutes, then you will understand everything."
Temarii, a former player for French club FC Nantes, represents Tahiti and has headed the Auckland-based OFC—which mainly consists of small Pacific island nations—since 2004.
Any deals during the bidding process for a World Cup are banned under FIFA rules, but the Sunday Times said six senior officials, past and present, had told reporters that bribery offered the best chance of landing the tournament.
The nations in the running to host the 2018 World Cup are England, Russia, Spain-Portugal and Netherlands-Belgium. For 2022, the contenders are Qatar, Australia, the United States, Japan and South Korea.
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