Oceania Football Confederation (OFC), Football Federation Australia (FFA) and the Australian government have signed a $4 million AUD agreement which aims to deliver football and other sports-based programmes across the Pacific.

The agreement was signed earlier this month in Cairns, Australia, where 17 Heads of Government were gathered for the 40th Pacific Island Leaders Forum. OFC President Reynald Temarii addressed the leaders and said a special thank you to Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd for his support.

"On behalf of OFC and the Oceania football family, I would like to express my sincerest thanks to the Australian Government for its role in this partnership," said President Temarii. "Together with the Australian Sports Outreach Program and FFA, we will be able to use the development of football to improve the lives of individuals, families and communities throughout Oceania."

The projects will include initiatives such as OFC ‘Just Play' - a grassroots program that promotes physical activity for children aged 6-13 and encourages community involvement.

‘Just Play' is already well established in OFC's 11 Member Associations but is now set to expand. The programme, which will run for three years until June 2012, will include the supply of football equipment.

FFA General Secretary Ben Buckley says it is the intention of all parties to extend the agreement beyond this term. "All of us at Football Australia are excited by this opportunity to contribute to capacity building in Pacific Island communities and to contribute to improved health and education outcomes through sustained participation in sport," he said.

"We look forward to working with Oceania Football Confederation, through the leadership of Reynald Temarii, to achieve outstanding results over the coming years."

The partnership includes funding and support for the Pacific Youth and Sport Conference (PSYC) set to take place in Manukau, New Zealand, from 8-13 March 2010. PSYC is an OFC initiative aimed at bringing together regional stakeholders to discuss how sport can play a role in advancing health, fostering community development, reducing anti-social behaviour and building strong bonds among young people in the Pacific,