— Published 30 May 2023

First indictment in Qatargate

The downward spiral continues for Reynald Temarii (pictured above). The former Tahitian leader and FIFA vice-president has been indicted for passive corruption in the investigation into the awarding of the 2022 FIFA World Cup to Qatar. Suspended for eight years in 2015 from all football-related activities, he has been an assisted witness since November 2021. The facts with which he is charged date back to December 2010, when the FIFA Executive Committee voted to award the 2022 World Cup. A former president of the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC), Reynald Temarii was no longer eligible to sit on the body’s comex, having been suspended a month earlier for breaching the code of ethics. In his absence, the OFC had to appoint a replacement, who was expected to give his vote to Australia in the first round of voting and then, in the event of failure, to the United States, Qatar’s main rivals. But on the eve of the vote, the Tahitian decided to appeal his suspension. A highly unexpected about-turn, given that he had initially announced his acceptance of the sanction. Under FIFA’s statutes, his appeal deprived the OFC of a representative at the vote. On December 2, 2010, Qatar prevailed over the United States. Interviewed by Tahitian television on Saturday May 27, Reynald Temarii said he was serene. “It’s a non-event, the truth doesn’t change, there was never any corruption, he explained. With my lawyers, we are waiting for the documents we have requested to understand the reasons for this indictment“. According to him, it could be linked to the Paris Court of Appeal’s decision to change the investigating judges in charge of the case.