The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Fifa blamed as Aussies, NZ see red

Brisbane: Australian and New Zealand soccer officials said Sunday they could lose millions of dollars in sponsorship following a decision by Fifa to strip Oceania of direct World Cup qualification.

Soccer Australia’s acting chairman Les Avory said Fifa “should be ashamed of themselves”.

Sponsorships with Australian television’s Seven network and airline Qantas are in jeopardy, Avory said.

New Zealand Soccer (NZS) chief executive Bill MacGowan said the decision will also cost his group money.

“It’s an absolutely unbelievable decision which came from nowhere. This is just politics of the highest level,” MacGowan said. “We have had a number of discussions with commercial partners based on Oceania having direct entry to the World Cup.”

Australia and New Zealand are the two leading teams in the confederation, with the others made up of Pacific Island countries with limited soccer programmes.

Oceania won the right to direct entry to the World Cup for the first time in December last year, but that decision was overturned at an executive meeting of the governing body in Paris Saturday.

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