Oceania chief insists 'I did nothing wrong'

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The Independent Football

One of the two Fifa officials under investigation over World Cup bid bribery claims is convinced he will clear his name this week and be allowed to cast his vote for the 2018 and 2022 tournaments.

Tahiti's Reynald Temarii, temporarily suspended from the Fifa executive committee along with Amos Adamu of Nigeria pending a hearing on Wednesday, still insists he has done nothing wrong and is taking legal proceedings against The Sunday Times for alleging he is corrupt.

An undercover reporting team posing as a US consortium claimed they had video evidence that the head of football's Oceania region and Adamu were ready to take bribes in exchange for their votes. Other Exco members have told The Independent on Sunday that Fifa are almost certain to make examples of the pair. But Temarii insists he has broken no rules.

He bases his case in part on the fact that the video clips, lasting just over four minutes, represented a fraction of a 98-minute meeting. "I am confident that I will vote on 2 December," he said. "I never sold my vote and never even had the intention to. They edited videos of interviews to suggest I'd sell my votes to fund a football academy. Let me repeat, I did nothing wrong."

Temarii may still end up being a scapegoat. Fifa president Sepp Blatter stands for re-election next year and is determined to restore some semblance of transparency to the governing body.

So serious is Blatter treating the allegations that he has called an emergency meeting of his executive committee for Friday, two days after the Ethics Committee's decision, to consider how to proceed if, as seems likely, only 22 Fifa members instead of 24 end up selecting two World Cup hosts on the same day.

It is understood that Spain/Portugal and Qatar are likely to be cleared of vote-trading collusion following a separate ethics committee inquiry. Qatari officials say a smear campaign is being waged against them.

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