WELLINGTON, April 7, 2018 (BSS/AFP) – FIFA revealed Saturday that it had found “potential irregularities” in an Auckland construction project championed by outgoing Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) president David Chung.
Chung announced his immediate resignation on Friday for “personal reasons”, even though the 55-year-old’s term still had 10 months to run.
The Papua New Guinea official took over at the OFC in 2010 after his predecessor Reynald Temarii of Tahiti was implicated in a vote-selling scandal.
One of Chung’s pet projects was construction of a sports hub in Auckland’s Ngahue Reserve which he said would become “The Home of Football” in the Pacific region.
Reports put the project’s budget at NZ$15 million ($10.9 million).
FIFA said an external audit firm recently examined OFC’s accounts and found “potential irregularities in the construction process of the OFC Home of Football”.
The review findings, which were not focusing on specific individuals, led to the temporary suspension of funding to OFC, FIFA said in a statement to AFP.
“The process is now ongoing and the FIFA administration will continue to support OFC in building and improving their internal controls.”
The statement did not provide specific details about the potential irregularities or the exact timeframe in which it suspended OFC funding.
Asked if Chung was personally under investigation, FIFA responded: “As a standard rule, we cannot comment on whether or not investigations are ongoing concerning specific individuals.”
Chung also headed the PNG Football Association and was a FIFA vice- president.
He was involved in a power struggle with another PNG administrator John Kapi Natto in 2016 which resulted in his rival setting up a rebel league.
The New Zealand Herald reported that the OFC’s executive committee had called a special general meeting in Auckland this Sunday which was expected to consider a vote of no confidence in Chung.
The OFC meeting will still proceed, with Chung’s successor likely to be elected.