18 Oct 2010

Fake lobbyists tried to bribe me too, says Tongan

6:03 pm on 18 October 2010

The head of Tongan football says he met undercover reporters posing as lobbyists offering money for votes but already knew they were not legitimate.

Britain's Sunday Times newspaper says it secretly filmed the head of the Oceania Football Confederation, Reynald Temarii of Tahiti, and Amos Adamu of Nigeria negotiating with reporters over a United States bid to host the World Cup in 2018 or 2022.

The general secretary of Tonga's federation, Ahongalu Fusimalohi, says he was contacted by someone posing as a representative of American companies supporting America's bid.

He says they talked of a board membership worth around $US100,000.

Mr Fusimalohi says he lied to the lobbyists in order to find out who they really were. He says he is certain the allegations against Mt Temarii are not true.

Temarii defends his integrity

The Oceania Football Confederation's New Zealand representative, Fred de Jong, says he wants to talk to Mr Temarii before he passes judgment on him.

The Sunday Times alleges that, in exchange for his vote, Mr Temarii wanted $3 million to set up a sports academy in Auckland.

Mr de Jong says he is trying to get hold of Mr Temarii, who is on his way to Zurich, to get his version of events.

Mr Temarii has said that he is confident about his integrity and that he has asked FIFA to launch an ethics investigation.

The confederation says that FIFA's independent ethics panel is planning to discuss his case on Wednesday and that he will co-operate fully.