AUCKLAND: World football federation FIFA has a new vice-president after the 11-nation Oceania region voted unanimously to appoint Lambert Maltock as new president in succession to banned and disgraced David Chung.
Maltock, 62, and who is also president of the Vanuatu Federation, will serve a four-year term.
Oceania is one of the six regional confederations of the world game along with Africa, Asia, Central and North America (CONCACAF), South America (CONMEBOL) and Europe (UEFA). This entitled Oceania to a place at the FIFA top table with one vice-president and two other members on the governing council.
Chung was brought down by an investigation into bribery and conflict of interest over multi-million-dollar plans for Oceania’s new headquarters in Auckland.
The Malaysian-born 56-year-old had been elected unopposed as Oceania president for a four-year term in January 2011 and re-elected in 2015. Inbetween he was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s 2012 Birthday Honours list.
In 2017 Chung was appointed as deputy chairman of FIFA’s new competitions organising committee. Immediately he threw Oceania’s support behind the expansion of the World Cup to 48 teams for 2026 with the certainty that it would at last be guaranteed at least one direct qualification slot at the finals.
However, his dual role as head of the Papua New Guinea FA came under attack after allegations that he had illegally excluded supporters of rival John Kapi Natto from the 2016 elections. Chung denied all wrongdoing.
Last April he suddenly quit all his football roles citing “personal reasons.” His exit occurred days before the OFC’s executive committee was due to study the audit into the $11m project for the new HQ in Auckland’s Ngahue Reserve.
Last month he was banned from football for six years and fined 100,000 Swiss francs by FIFA’s ethics committee for “having offered and accepted gifts, as well as having acted under a conflict of interest, in violation of the FIFA Code of Ethics.”
Chung was the second successive Oceania president to be kicked out of the game for corruption.
Predecessor Reynald Temarii from Tahiti was unseated after seeking illicit support from undercover newspaper reporters in the run-up to the scandal-scarred hosting votes for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups in late 2010.
Later Temarii was banned for a further eight years for having accepted money from the then Asian confederation president Mohamed bin Hammam. The cash went towards Temarii’s legal expenses in both contesting the original ethics action and/or seeking, in vain, to allow his then-deputy Chung to vote in his place.