By Andrew Warshaw
March 4 – Almost a year after resigning as head of the Oceania Football Confederation citing “personal reasons”, David Chung has been banned from the sport for 6.5 years for financial wrongdoing, reportedly over the awarding of contracts for the construction of the OFC headquarters in New Zealand.
Chung, an important ally in Gianni Infantino’s 2016 FIFA presidential election victory, was thrown out for offering and accepting gifts as well as conflict of interest, FIFA said in a statement.
Along with the ban, which comes into immediate effect, the former FIFA vice president and Council member was also fined CHF100,000.
Chung, who headed the Papua New Guinea FA from 2004, was the longest-serving of FIFA’s eight vice presidents – and effectively therefore Infantino’s number two – when he resigned in April, 2018 after seven years in the role.
FIFA, which had given $16.8 million to the OFC the previous year, froze funding to the 11-member regional body.
Chung was a controversial figure within the OFC but particularly in Papua New Guinea where he had been accused of presidential election vote-rigging and faced a club mutiny that saw a breakaway league established and even threat of a separate application to FIFA for recognition.
Shortly after he resigned as head of the region, it emerged that a FIFA-appointed audit found “potential irregularities” linked to building the $20 million OFC headquarters in Auckland, casting a dark shadow over the FIFA administration’s attempts to clean up its constituent bodies.
Chung had repeatedly been the focus of corruption allegations but was so entrenched at FIFA that at one point he seemed untouchable. Ironically, his predecessor Reynald Temarii of Tahiti was also forced out, in his case over his role in the scandal-tarnished 2018 and 2022 World Cup bidding process.
Temarii was banned for eight years in 2015 for taking money from disgraced ex-Asian football boss Mohamed bin Hammam been to cover legal costs. He had already previously been hit with a one-year suspension by FIFA which barred him from taking part in the 2018 and 2022 ballot.
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