Controversial Dempsey dies

SYDNEY - Charlie Dempsey, New Zealand's former long-serving president of the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC), died on Tuesday aged 86, the OFC said in a statement yesterday.

SYDNEY - Charlie Dempsey, New Zealand's former long-serving president of the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC), died on Tuesday aged 86, the OFC said in a statement yesterday.

Dempsey served as OFC president from 1982-2000 but was best known for his controversial involvement in the selection of the hosts for the 2006 World Cup.

Germany were awarded the 2006 World Cup after Dempsey abstained from voting when Fifa's executive committee met to decide the host nation.

Dempsey had been instructed by the OFC to vote for South Africa but his decision to abstain allowed Germany to win by 12 votes to 11.

Had he voted for South Africa and the vote ended in a draw, Fifa president Sepp Blatter would have used his deciding vote for South Africa.

Dempsey, who was widely criticised for abstaining, claimed he was put under "intolerable pressure" before the vote. He resigned from the OFC and Fifa shortly afterwards, but maintained he had done nothing wrong.

OFC president Reynald Temarii said Dempsey should be remembered for his tireless work in promoting soccer in Oceania.

"The Oceania Football Confederation and Fifa owe Charles a debt of gratitude for his complete devotion, extraordinary loyalty and unwavering service to the sport of football," Temarii said in a statement.

"His perseverance, charm and drive will be missed by all the lives he touched and my deepest sympathies are with his family and friends."

Dempsey was born in Scotland in 1922 but emigrated to New Zealand in 1952 where he became involved in soccer administration. - Reuters

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