Sport: FIFA Presidential candidates court Oceania votes
Oceania countries are still to decide on who to back in FIFA Presidential election.
Oceania football countries will meet with all of the FIFA Presidential candidates before deciding how they will vote in this weekend's election.
The five men are vying to replace the suspended Sepp Blatter, who's been in charge since 1998.
Last year, all 11 Oceania nations pledged their support for Blatter before New Zealand broke ranks and voted for Prince Ali bin Al Hussein of Jordan.
The President of the Solomon Islands Football Federation, William Lai, told Vinnie Wylie this time around it's anyone's guess which way the vote will go.
WILLIAM LAI: All five candidates have a vision for world football. As a family of the Oceania Confederation, most, if not all, of the candidates do have something for us too so in that context I think we need to consider the personality and the support. It's a new order so that's the difference.
VINNIE WYLIE: A lot of the candidates have been busy lobbying and trying to I guess secure votes: Prince Ali was in New Zealand in recent months, Gianni Infantino was up in Papua New Guinea - have any of the candidates spoken to the Solomon Islands Football Federation reached out to try and win your support?
WL: Nobody has been to the Solomon Islands. When we had an [Oceania Football] executive meeting in PNG the Secretary General of UEFA [Gianni Infantino] came along and presented his vision for football. I think there was [no country that] made [a] commitment there so I think the Oceania family was happy enough to keep options with all the candidates to see what they can do for world football.
VW: Obviously a year ago all Oceania countries apart from New Zealand supported Sepp Blatter. Whoever is the winning candidate, what do you think, from an Oceania perspective, needs to be done? What would help the countries here become more competitive and what's important to countries in this region?
WL: I think there will be no big changes in terms of whoever comes in because there's ongoing programs and policy of FIFA for the last many years. Whoever comes in the important thing is they need to see the difference between Oceania as a region [and the rest of the world] because we have our own difficulties, in terms of the much travel. You see most all of our senior teams we're at the bottom of the FIFA rankings and there must be a problem there we need to address so that we have more games so that we are not down there.
VW: So do you anticipate that all of the Oceania countries, once you meet in Switzerland ahead of this congress, will come to an agreement and vote for one candidate or is there a chance there might be a range of candidates preferred in Oceania?
WL: That is a very good question. I can't answer you because I think it's important we stay together because in 1998 I was involved in the election. In fact we didn't vote for Mr Blatter - we voted for Mr [Lennart] Johansson. Somehow, Mr Blatter came to love Oceania so it's politics so I don't think whoever comes in, even if we didn't vote for him, FIFA is about policy, about developing the game in the world stage, so I see not a big problem on whether we stick together or even vote for others but sometimes in politics if we stick together maybe we get more, it all depends. We have an executive meeting before the five candidates last chance to present to us whether we vote as a confederation together or we're going to split. It's a democracy so any country can lend their support to what they believe in in a new FIFA President.
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