Football

Published: Thursday June 5, 2014 MYT 1:52:03 PM
Updated: Thursday June 5, 2014 MYT 1:52:49 PM

Oceania remain tightlipped over Qatar 2022 investigation

WELLINGTON (Reuters) - The Oceania Football Confederation will wait until after world governing body FIFA has completed its investigation into how Qatar won the 2022 World Cup rights before it makes any comment on whether their organisation has been caught up in the scandal.

World soccer has been thrown into turmoil in the last week after a British newspaper reported that it had evidence that around $5 million was paid to officials in return for votes for Qatar's successful bid.

Qatar has strongly denied reports in Britain's Sunday Times that bribes were paid to officials to bring the sporting world's biggest global event to the tiny Gulf emirate.

The newspaper implicated a former Oceania official in its report and the OFC has been silent on the matter since the story broke.

On Thursday, however, it said it would be unable to make any public statements until FIFA's investigator Michael Garcia had presented his report to the ethics committee.

"Stories concerning the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) and the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 bidding process have appeared in the media this week," the OFC said in a short statement.

"As the matter remains before the FIFA Ethics Committee, OFC does not wish to do anything that may undermine that process and is awaiting the outcome of the inquiry before making any further statement."

Garcia is expected to complete his investigation by June 9 and then report to the ethics committee about six weeks later.

This year's World Cup, which is being overshadowed by the allegations of corruption, starts on June 12 and runs until July 13 and Garcia's report would not be released until the conclusion of the tournament in Brazil.

(Reporting by Greg Stutchbury; Editing by Sudipto Ganguly)

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