A FIFA delegation headed by Secretary General Jérôme Valcke and the Director Member Associations and Development Thierry Regenass met with the board of the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) and the presidents, general secretaries and technical directors of its 11 member associations during a landmark three-day seminar that finished in Auckland.
The event kicked off a series of 11 development seminars that will be organised by FIFA in all confederations until spring 2014.
While eight Goal projects have been assigned to OFC during the financial cycle 2011-2014, FIFA has diversified the scope of its development initiatives in the region with all 11 OFC member associations actively participating in the Performance programme, and Tonga set to benefit from the FIFA scheme for less privileged member associations.
Regenass said: “Throughout the past years we have been able to see the concrete impact of development projects in the OFC region. OFC member associations have been able to consistantly benefit from the full range of FIFA development support.
“This seminar has given us a great opportunity to discuss about upcoming priorities and challenges of the OFC member associations. In addition to the upcoming development initiatives that will be implemented in the region, the FIFA tournaments that will be organised by OFC member associations, like the Beach Soccer World Cup in Tahiti and the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup in New Zealand, will make a significant contribution.”
One of the heroes of Tahiti’s participation at the FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil 2013, Marama Vahirua attended the seminar, having recently been named technical Director of the Tahiti Football Federation: “For me it is a great opportunity to learn. I am new to this function of technical director, having just retired from pro football, and I felt that I could greatly help our football after our qualification for the Confederations Cup. And FIFA and OFC are doing an amazing job in helping us improving our football.”
The seminar coincided with the opening of the OFC’s new ‘Home of Football’ at Ngahue Reserve in St John, Auckland, with FIFA’s Secretary General Jérôme Valcke and FIFA Vice-President David Chung attending the ceremony.
“We will always be behind Oceania’s football, because throughout the years, whenever we have provided you with our support to develop football, you have consistantly delivered”, said Valcke to the assembly of Oceania member associations.
Nikki Kaye, New Zealand minister of youth, said during the ceremony that New Zealand was “privileged, as a country, to be the home of such a facility, because it will do so much social good. We all know, even here in a country where other sports are very present, how much football can do in terms of values, especially for our youth.”
Over the past 14 years, FIFA has provided its member associations and the confederations with close to USD 2 billion in development funds. During the same period, an overall investment of USD 88.3 million has been made by FIFA in the OFC region.
FIFA’s next development seminar is set to take place from 23 until 27 of September in Costa Rica.