By Paul Nicholson
May 19 – David Chung, president of the Oceania Football Confederation as well as the Papua New Guinea FA, is facing a revolution in his home country where a rival faction has established its own federation, is playing its own matches and has more members than the FIFA-recognised federation Chung leads.
Chung, a supporter of FIFA president Gianni Infantino, controls the OFC member association votes, and has increasing power as a member of the FIFA Bureau – the highest committee at FIFA comprised of the five confederation presidents plus Infantino. He is a FIFA vice-president.
But while his power base has grown on the international stage, at home he is under fire from football stakeholders who say they have filed numerous letters and complaints to FIFA after he fixed his re-election to the PNG presidency. They are asking FIFA to recognise their breakaway ‘federation’ and to investigate Chung and the election process in PNG.
They claim Chung was only re-elected as PNG president after disqualifying seven member associations in an electoral college of 18 members. They say the reasons for the suspensions were fabricated so that Ching could ensure victory in the election.
There have also been allegations from FIFA sources that Chung used FIFA money to buy his six votes. This was reported to FIFA by the regional development officer at the time (since fired in the global cull of FIFA’s development officers by Fatma Samoura) but no action was taken against Chung.
The election process was considered so unethical that the Papua New Guinea sports minister declared it was wrong and urged FIFA to intervene – to no avail.
Standing against Chung in the PNG election was John Kapi Natto, a former senior vice president of the PNG FA, and the holder of the popular vote. But with seven votes suspended – Chung said that they did not meet the compliance rules allowing them to vote – Chung’s six votes carried the day and he was re-elected.
If Kapi Natto had received the seven suspended votes he would have won 12-6.
Since then Kapi Natto and his supporters have formed a new football association called Football Federation Papua New Guinea and started a new elite competition, the National Premier League.
Kapi Natto, as president of the new federation, has also toured the country bringing new clubs into his group and establishing a football membership considerably greater that the FIFA recognised federation.
Meanwhile Chung runs a federation that has a dwindling membership and competitive structure in the face of a football focussed rival that is singing new members and growing its league.
In contrast Chung spends his time internationally collecting his $300,000 FIFA stipend plus expenses, saluting the FIFA flag and guaranteeing his support and that of his confederation to its president. It is a support that, according to PNG observers, has bought him immunity from FIFA prosecution.
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