Oceania to back Blatter in June election

BERNE - Sepp Blatter was given another boost in his bid to be re-elected as FIFA president when the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) said it would back the Swiss against Asian football chief Mohamed Bin Hammam.

The OFC became the third region to declare its support for Blatter, who is bidding for a fourth term, following Europe and South America.

"OFC has confirmed its support for the re-election of FIFA President Joseph Blatter citing a range of initiatives that have positively impacted the region under his leadership," the OFC, which has 11 member associations, said in a statement.

"OFC President David Chung says all members agreed that the current FIFA administration has had a significant impact on the development and popularity of football across the Pacific.

"While all member associations have an independent right to decide on which candidate to vote for, President Chung says today's decision highlights the unity and transparency within the Confederation."

Last year, Oceania's Reynald Temarii was one of two FIFA Executive Committee members suspended for allegedly offering to sell their votes in the 2018 and 2022 World Cup hosting contest to undercover newspaper reporters from Britain's Sunday Times.

Temarii, OFC president at the time, was replaced by Papua-New Guinea's Chung.

South America's CONMEBOL and Europe's UEFA have already declared their support for Blatter, who is hoping to secure a fourth term with a victory over his Qatari opponent in the June 1 election.

FIFA has 208 member associations who hold one vote each at the presidential election.

Although Oceania is FIFA's weakest region in playing terms, its 11 members mean the region carries more weight in the presidential election than South America which has only 10.

Europe has 53 votes while Blatter has said he believes CONCACAF, the confederation for North and Central America and the Caribbean, will also back him with their 35 votes.