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Oceania Football Confederation hit with liquidation warning over unpaid invoices

The Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) has been ordered to pay NZ$412,000 (€243,000/$274,000) to a contractor that worked on its Auckland-based Home of Football project – or risk the threat of being placed into liquidation.

The Associated Press news agency reports that Associate Judge Warwick Smith has ordered the OFC, one of football’s six continental confederations, to pay the fee, which relates to six unpaid invoices between February and April 2018. The contractor in question is ESSL, which began working on the project in 2017.

The judge has said that if the amount is not paid within 10 working days, ESSL could make an application to put the OFC into liquidation.

The OFC’s Home of Football Project had been set to deliver two Fifa-standard pitches, along with a grandstand, offices and indoor futsal complex. The first stage of the project was completed but work stalled on the second stage, with the AP noting that Fifa suspended funding for the OFC amid rising costs relating to the work.

In March, Lambert Maltock was confirmed as the permanent president of the OFC. The Vanuatuan will serve a four-year term.

Maltock assumed the presidency on an interim basis when David Chung of Papua New Guinea stepped down last year, citing personal reasons. Chung, who had been at the helm since 2011 and was on Fifa’s executive board, was notified on March 1 by football’s global governing body that he had been suspended from all football activities for six-and-a-half years due to violations of ethics rules.

In May, former OFC secretary general Tai Nicholas was also banned for eight years after the adjudicatory chamber of Fifa’s independent Ethics Committee found him guilty of having misappropriated Fifa funds. The investigation into Nicholas concerned the misappropriation of Fifa funds allocated to the OFC between 2014 and 2017 in relation to the Home of Football project.