TONGAN FUSIMALOHI WINS TOP INTERNATIONAL SOCCER POSITION

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SUVA, Fiji Islands (August 4, 2002 - PINA Nius Online)---Former Tongan journalist and radio executive 'Ahongalu Fusimalohi has won a position that confirms him as a major figure in world sports.

Fusimalohi was elected the Oceania representative on the powerful executive board of the world soccer body, FIFA, during an Oceania meeting in Auckland, Fiji's Sunday Sun reported.

Fusimalohi is a longtime Tongan and Oceania official. He left his position as deputy general manager of the Tonga Broadcasting Corporation to concentrate on his soccer work.

He has held a number of FIFA committee positions but his election to the executive board makes him one of the world game's elite decision makers.

He succeeds Solomon Islander Adrian Wickham, who did not seek reelection.

Australia's Basil Scarsella was reelected president of the Oceania Football Confederation.

FIFA president Joseph Blatter -- who is believed to have been backed by Oceania countries in his recent re-election -- attended the Auckland meeting. Earlier this year he attended another meeting in Tonga organized by Fusimalohi.

Blatter again confirmed his support for the Oceania confederation having direct entry to the World Cup finals. This is rather than its qualifier having to play off against teams from other confederations.

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Website: http://www.pinanius.org 

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