Oceania to sit out vote


WELLINGTON, December 1- The Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) said Wednesday it will not vote on who hosts the 2018 and 2022 World Cups as its president was determined to appeal a FIFA suspension for misconduct.
The move, seen as a blow to Australia’s chances of hosting the 2022 tournament, follows OFC president Reynald Temarii’s decision to press on with attempts to overturn a ban imposed after a probe into vote-buying allegations.

"OFC (Oceania Football Confederation) will not have a voice at the voting table in Zurich on December 2 but fully respects the decision made by Reynald Temarii and his legal team under difficult circumstances," acting OFC president David Chung said in a statement.

Had Temarii dropped his appeal, Oceania could have nominated a replacement official for Thursday’s crunch vote at the headquarters of world football’s governing body.

"Oceania’s sole spot on the FIFA executive committee is not considered vacant as long as the appeal process is still open," the OFC statement said.

With another official from Nigeria suspended, Oceania’s absence means just 22 out of the 24 FIFA executive committee members can take part in the secret ballot to decide the host nations.

Oceania, which consists mainly of small Pacific island states, has strong ties with Australia and had pledged its support for Football Federation Australia’s 2022 bid.