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2006 World Cup decision Friday, 7 July, 2000, 19:12 GMT 20:12 UK
Charlie Dempsey: A profile
Charlie Dempsey: the man at the centre of controversy
Charlie Dempsey: the man at the centre of controversy
Just who is the man at the centre of the World Cup row who caused joy in Germany and soul-searching in South Africa?

Charlie Dempsey, president of the Oceania Football Confederation, is known in New Zealand football circles as Albert Steptoe.

The nickname is the legacy of the 78-year-old businessman's striking resemblance to the late actor Wilfred Bramble and the plot surrounding his abstention from the third round vote for the venue of the 2006 World Cup is itself worthy of the small screen.

His integrity has been questioned, rumours of bribes have emerged, but of more concern is the allegation Mr Dempsey's life, and that of his family, had been threatened.

Speaking on BBC World Service, Dempsey said he had been under pressure, but had no regrets in deciding not to cast his vote and securing the tournament for Germany against the wishes of favourites South Africa.


I have no regrets about what I did - none whatsoever

Charlie Dempsey
"I had very strong reasons, but I'm not going into them," he said.

"I didn't do it lightly. I don't make decisions like that lightly."

In failing to vote for South Africa Dempsey did not follow instructions given to him by the OCF at their meeting in May and must explain his decision to the confederation at a meeting in Auckland on Sunday.

Dempsey, whose daughter Josephine King is OCF general secretary, has been at the helm of the federation since 1982 and while his position is under threat he remains on Fifa's organising committee for the 2002 World Cup in Korea and Japan.

The Scottish ex-pat left Maryhill in Glasgow in 1952 for a new life in New Zealand and enjoyed a coaching career in Auckland before moving into administration.

The Dempsey file
1922: Born Maryhill, Scotland
1952: Emigrated to New Zealand
1982: Elected president of the Oceania Football Confederation
1996: Elected to Fifa Executive Committeee
2000: Abstains from final vote handing Germany the 2006 World Cup
He was head of the New Zealand Football Association (now Soccer New Zealand) when the country competed for the first time in the World Cup finals in 1982 in Spain.

Ironically his adopted country faced the land of his birth in the same group with Scotland winning the encounter 5-2.

As an administrator he has achieved success in the awarding of the world under-17 finals to New Zealand last year.

He was a close friend of former Fifa president Joao Havelange and has clocked up thousands of air miles is promoting the cause of Oceania since joining Fifa's executive in 1996.

But until his decision to abstain from voting on Thursday he was a little voice in a big pond. Now the big pond awaits his voice.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Forbes McFall reports
"Mr Dempsey's decision has embarrassed the New Zealand government"
See also:

07 Jul 00 | 2006 World Cup decision
07 Jul 00 | 2006 World Cup decision
07 Jul 00 | 2006 World Cup decision
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