Why I With­drew: Pa­tel Tells

Fiji Sun - - Sport - JUS­TINE MANNAN Edited by Leone Cabenatabua Feed­back: jus­tine.mannan@fi­jisun.com.fj

Fiji Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion pres­i­dent Ra­jesh Pa­tel has clar­i­fied why he with­drew his nom­i­na­tion as Ocea­nia’s rep­re­sen­ta­tive to the FIFA coun­cil. Speak­ing to SUN­sports yes­ter­day, Pa­tel said, he had dis­cus­sions with pres­i­dents of each as­so­ci­a­tions around the Ocea­nia re­gion be­fore he made his de­ci­sion. “My de­ci­sion was for Ocea­nia to unite as one,” he said. “I had to pull out and let the newly- ap­pointed mem­bers step for­ward. We did not want any di­vi­sion be­tween the Poly­ne­sians and the Me­lane­sians. We wanted to be one and have a united solid ground for the Ocea­nia re­gion to stand on.” De­spite the de­ci­sion to with­draw from the elec­tions, Pa­tel says, he is happy with the new mem­bers of the FIFA coun­cil. “I know that they will do so much for the Ocea­nia re­gion. If I had been elected it would ob­vi­ously be a big thing for the coun­try and the devel­op­ment of foot­ball in Fiji. But at times we do not need look only at our coun­try but Ocea­nia as a whole. “I hope that with the new mem­bers on the coun­cil, foot­ball in the Ocea­nia re­gion will im­prove.” Cook Is­lands Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion pres­i­dent, Lee Har­mon, and Amer­i­can Samoa Foot­ball Fed­er­a­tion vice-pres­i­dent, San­dra Fruean, have been elected by the Ocea­nia Foot­ball Con­fed­er­a­tion as the FIFA coun­cil mem­bers from 2016- 2019. This is the first time that OFC will be rep­re­sented on the FIFA coun­cil.

Ra­jesh Pa­tel.

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