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Charlie Dempsey On His German Support

Oceania soccer boss Charlie Dempsey disputes his confederation directed him to back South Africa's bid for the 2006 World Cup.

Dempsey abstained from the final round of voting in Europe which effectively handed the tournament to Germany and he has since been singled out for worldwide criticism.

Reading from a prepared statement at the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) headquarters at Auckland's Mt Smart, Dempsey says there was never anything more than an 'understanding' that he would back South Africa after the elimination of his first preference, England.

But on arriving in Europe, Dempsey says he felt under 'intolerable pressure,' which led to OFC secretary general Josephine King - who also happens to be Dempsey's daughter - telephoning OFC delegates about how he should proceed.

Dempsey says based on those calls, he was advised that the majority of delegates agreed that he could act as he saw fit 'in the best interests of OFC.'

At the press conference attended by around 50 journalists representing local, national and international media, Dempsey read: "I have devoted my life to the service of football in New Zealand and Oceania. I believe my record speaks for itself."

The real reason Germany won the right to host the 2006 World Cup is because 12 FIFA delegates voted in favour of their bid, he says.

Dempsey also took a swipe at Minister of Sport Trevor Mallard, who has been openly critical of the OFC president's stance. Dempsey says his decision was made for the good of football, not politics.

ENDS

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