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OCEANIA SOCCER MEETING ENDS IN DISARRAY

The main item on the agenda was the election of a new president to succeed Charlie Dempsey of New Zealand, who resigned in July after abstaining in the FIFA vote to decide the host nation for the 2006 World Cup finals.
As a result of his action, which went against his confederation’s mandate to vote for South Africa, Germany won the right to stage the 2006 World Cup by one vote.
Dempsey resigned after that and it was expected that Basil Scarsella of Australia would be elected as new president on Thursday.
However, some “very strongly worded arguments” according to one delegate who asked not to be identified, meant the vote was deferred. Another meeting will be held in Vanuatu on November 25 when it is expected the vote will then be taken.
The outcome of the meeting angered a number of delegates, including Sahu Khan of Fiji, who was nominated by Oceania’s executive committee in August to fill the place vacated by Dempsey on FIFA’s executive.
Oceania also have scheduled a new vote for November 25 to decide whether he should be allowed to continue as their representative on that committee.
Khan, who attended the FIFA Congress in August, was an angry man after the meeting.
“As a result of Mr Dempsey’s actions Oceania is now split into two camps with Australia, New Zealand, Tonga, the Solomon Islands, American Samoa and Western Samoa on one side, and Fiji, the Cook Islands, Tahiti, Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea on the other.
“This is very sad. I am the oldest serving member since 1985 and this is the first time that this kind of situation has developed in Oceania.
“This meeting today had no right to query my position on the FIFA executive committee as I was elected by the Oceania executive board and this extraordinary congress had no powers to question that decision.
“I will be speaking to Michel Zen-Ruffinen (FIFA general-secretary) immediately and will be asking him to invoke the powers of FIFA to make a decision on this issue.
“But you can say that all of this is fall-out from Mr Dempsey’s actions. There is still much to be resolved.”
While Khan’s situation remains in doubt, there are three candidates standing for the presidency – acting Oceania president John Tinsley Lulu, Adrian Wickham of the Solomon Islands and Scarsella from Australia.

Reuters