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News & Comment

Papua New Guinean could hold key to Cup's destiny

If Fifa restores Oceania's suspended vote in time for Thursday, then David Chung, a 48-year-old who lives in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea, will find himself eagerly sought out by presidents, prime ministers and princes when he arrives at Fifa's headquarters in Zurich this morning.

Chung flew to Switzerland from Auckland yesterday where he had been attending an Oceania meeting to discuss the suspension of the confederation's president, Reynald Temarii. As vice-president, Chung has taken on Temarii's role and awaits the governing body's ruling on whether he will be allowed to vote. "We are anticipating 23 voters," said Andy Anson, the England bid's chief executive.

If so Chung may suddenly find his plans to build a training facility in Port Moresby, the capital of Papua New Guinea, coming to fruition much quicker than he might have hoped. The sudden importance of the head of the nation currently placed bottom of Fifa's world rankings – they lie 203rd alongside San Marino, Anguilla, Montserrat and American Samoa – will do little to improve the perception of the way the selection process works.

Chung, who speaks four languages, was born in Malaysia but has lived in Papua New Guinea for the past 25 years. After becoming involved in rugby league, he switched to football and helped launch the country's first semi-professional league four years ago.