Australia expects Oceania to get World Cup votes
Australia's World Cup bid leader believes FIFA will restore Oceania's right to use a vote promised to his country in the 2022 poll.
Frank Lowy said Sunday that he hoped FIFA would decide Monday, giving a boost to Australia's campaign three days before the 2018 and 2022 hosts are chosen. The Oceania Football Confederation's status has been uncertain since its president, Reynald Temarii, was suspended Oct. 20 in an ethics inquiry.
''I understand that Oceania is going to get a vote,'' Lowy told The Associated Press at Australia's campaign hotel in Zurich. ''I understand that FIFA will accept the person that is representing Oceania. It requires Temarii not to lodge an appeal against the (ethics) committee decision.''
FIFA did not respond to requests for comment Sunday. It has said Oceania's acting president, David Chung, cannot accept the voting rights if Temarii, its delegate to FIFA's executive committee, appeals a one-year ban imposed on Nov. 18.
Australia is keen to ensure Oceania has a vote as it is the only bidder that doesn't have a representative on FIFA's executive committee.
FIFA's executive panel votes in secret ballots on Thursday, 24 hours after Australia is the first of nine bidders to deliver a 30-minute presentation at FIFA headquarters.
Australia is followed on Wednesday by fellow 2022 candidates South Korea, Qatar, the United States and Japan. The 2018 bidders present their cases on Thursday morning, with the Belgium-Netherlands followed by Spain-Portugal, England and Russia.
Temarii was banished from the vote after FIFA's ethics court judged that he broke loyalty and confidentiality rules by speaking to British undercover reporters who posed as lobbyists seeking to buy votes.
However, Temarii's French lawyer said Sunday that he had not yet waived his rights before receiving the detailed ethics verdict.
''Mr. Temarii is still waiting for the reasoned decision and the OFC is waiting for FIFA's position,'' Geraldine Lesieur said in a text message to The AP.
Temarii was asked to stand aside, despite the ethics committee clearing him of corruption allegations. He also is suing The Sunday Times of London for defamation.
Oceania's 11 member nations - meeting in Auckland, New Zealand, on Saturday - asked FIFA to clarify the situation.
Oceania is backing Australia for 2022 and wants FIFA to approve Papua New Guinea official Chung, who is traveling to Zurich to become the 23rd executive committee voter.
Lowy said he was not despondent in the weeks since Temarii and Nigerian voter Amos Adamu, who has said he will appeal his three-year suspension, were implicated in a vote-buying sting.
''You have to take these things in your stride, otherwise any one distraction can drive you to distraction,'' said the billionaire mall developer.
''There is a surprise every day. The media is full of stories and you don't know which are half true, fully true or not true at all. There is nothing certain about this process until the vote is cast and the call is made.''