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Government unhappy with soccer decision

Sport, Fitness and Leisure Minister Trevor Mallard said the Government was extremely unhappy and disappointed with Charlie Dempsey's role in the demise of South Africa's World Cup Soccer bid.

"I'm shocked that one individual seems to have abused his voting right by disregarding instructions on voting requirements," Trevor Mallard said.

"As Oceania's representative, Mr Dempsey was under instruction to support the South African bid, once England had dropped out of the ballot. The Government was aware of those instructions and fully supported them.

"We received assurances from New Zealand Soccer last night that the Oceania vote was to have been used in that way.

"Though his abandonment of his delegation, Mr Dempsey has damaged the international reputation of the entire country as well as the sport of soccer in New Zealand. His actions could cast doubt on New Zealand’s reliability on the international stage.

"The World Cup finals have never been held in Africa and I am distressed that New Zealand is associated with that chance being blown.

" While formal support for South Africa was not within the Government's authority, the outcome reflects badly on us and our close bilateral relationship – particularly in the sporting arena," Trevor Mallard said.


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