OFC foundations for development praised by FIFA President

8 Jul 2021
  • FIFA President made virtual address to 27th OFC Ordinary Congress

  • President Infantino commended OFC’s clear vision for football development

  • Up to 2 teams representing Oceania could take part in both FIFA World Cup 2026 and FIFA Women’s World Cup 2027

FIFA President Gianni Infantino acclaimed the foundations for football development in Oceania in a speech to the 27th OFC Ordinary Congress, noting the strengthened infrastructure off the pitch that has the potential to make a significant difference on it.

The address, delivered virtually, noted the comprehensive reform process undertaken by the confederation in recent years built around the coping stones of accountability, transparency, efficiency, and good governance. The fortified structure will help the delivery of OFC’s clear vision on football development, preparing its member associations for the opportunity to qualify up to two OFC nations to FIFA World Cup 2026 and FIFA Women’s World Cup 2027.

“Today, we can definitely state that OFC is an innovative and professional organisation,” said Mr Infantino. “Despite COVID-19, you have achieved all of your objectives for 2020. Fittingly, the new OFC will have a new home as the construction of the new OFC is well on track, and I look forward to joining you all in inaugurating that building when New Zealand’s borders are open again.”

The FIFA President referenced the importance of playing in global tournaments, with twice runners-up Tahiti preparing to feature in the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup and Solomon Islands ready to appear at a fifth-successive FIFA Futsal World Cup, aiding their preparation through FIFA Forward and FIFA COVID-19 Relief Fund support.

“Boosting opportunities for member associations all over the world to host and participate in global tournaments is one of the key tenets of my Vision for football from 2020-2023” added the FIFA President.” Exposure to world class tournaments – from both an organisational and participation perspective - is vital for our sport to grow, from the elite and grassroots levels. The inspiration of global tournaments upon our youth is of incredible significance and that’s why I’m very happy that we are coming to Oceania for a great celebration in 2023.”

That football festival – co-hosted with Australia - will open with the curtain-raiser at Auckland’s iconic Eden Park Stadium, with three other venues in New Zealand set to welcome matches. Before that, fans across Oceania will be cheering New Zealand in both Olympic tournaments in Tokyo, with President Infantino wishing the teams the very best and projecting greater global competitiveness in the future.

“You have asked us for more opportunities to participate for both men and women,” concluded Mr Infantino. “Help us to shape the future of a football that is healthier and more inclusive through discussions on football’s calendar. Thank you for everything you are doing for the most beautiful sport in the world.”