March 11 – Interim Oceania Football Confederation president Lambert Maltock has been elected to the role on a permanent basis and has vowed to clean up the region following the recent bans of two high-profile colleagues.
Maltock, head of the Vanuatu FA who has run the confederation since June 2018, was handed the job on Saturday for four years in succession to David Chung who resigned almost a year ago citing “personal reasons” and who was recently banned for 6.5 years by FIFA for financial wrongdoing.
Maltock says he does not intend to stay for longer than one term but hopes to restore the reputation of FIFA’s smallest confederation whose vice-president Lee Harmon was suspended for three months last week over the resale of tickets at last summer’s World Cup in Russia and whose previous president before Chung, Reynald Temarii, was kicked out for eight years after being implicated in a vote-selling scandal.
“I believe in myself that I can do it. I stand before you all, as humble as I can be, believing that I can help restore Oceania with my capable friends behind me,” Maltock told the OFC congress in New Zealand. “I do not want to go on beyond four years but I want to leave a legacy so our children know that we are a strong Oceania.”
“We are aware that this is a delicate issue. If we don’t do it, if we don’t commit ourselves to eliminate all those problems, (we face) the chance to lose our confederation. This is why I committed myself to take the responsibility to lead the group, to really work on this right through, to dig everything out to clean up everything. We believe we are now on the right path to ensuring ethical breaches like those of the former president cannot be repeated.”
Among those in attendance at the OFC summit was FIFA president Gianni Infantino who provided a stark reminder of what was expected of the scandal-scarred region, which is made up largely of small Pacific island nations, saying it had one “last opportunity” to clean up its act.
“It’s vital that OFC turns the page. It’s vital for the survival of football in this part of the world,” Infantino told reporters.
“If there is still somebody in Oceania who is involved in football in any capacity, who has not realised yet that the time of abusing football for personal gain is over, then we can really not help it any more.”
Contact the writer of this story at firstname.lastname@example.org