Sun, Apr 08, 2018 - Page 11 News List

FIFA discloses OFC ‘irregularities’ after president resigns

AFP, WELLINGTON

FIFA yesterday said that it had found “potential irregularities” in an Auckland, New Zealand, construction project championed by outgoing Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) president David Chung.

Chung on Friday announced his immediate resignation for “personal reasons,” even though the 55-year-old’s term still had 10 months to run.

The Papua New Guinean official took over at the confederation in 2010 after his predecessor, Reynald Temarii of Tahiti, was implicated in a vote-selling scandal.

One of Chung’s pet projects was construction of a sports hub in Auckland’s Ngahue Reserve, which he said would become “The home of football” in the Pacific region.

Reports put the project’s budget at NZ$15 million (US$10.9 million).

FIFA said an external auditing firm examined the confederation’s accounts and found “potential irregularities in the construction process of the OFC Home of Football.”

The review findings, which were not focusing on specific individuals, led to the temporary suspension of funding to the confederation, FIFA said in a statement.

“The process is now ongoing and the FIFA administration will continue to support OFC in building and improving their internal controls,” it added.

The statement did not provide specific details about the potential irregularities or the exact timeframe in which it suspended the confederation’s funding.

Asked if Chung was personally under investigation, the sport’s governing body said: “As a standard rule, we cannot comment on whether or not investigations are ongoing concerning specific individuals.”

Chung also headed the Papua New Guinea Football Association and was a FIFA vice president.

In 2016, he was involved in a power struggle with another Papua New Guinean administrator, John Kapi Natto, which resulted in his rival setting up a rebel league.

The New Zealand Herald had reported that the confederation’s executive committee had called a special general meeting in Auckland scheduled for today that was expected to consider a vote of no confidence in Chung.

The meeting was still to proceed, with Chung’s successor likely to be elected.

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