Tuesday 25 October 2022, 21:15

FIFA workshop allows Pacific football to plan for a brighter future

  • Strategic meeting for Oceanian member associations held in Auckland

  • FIFA Forward 3.0 funding a key focus

  • Extensive range of topics covered with a common goal of football development

A busy period of off-field action continued for Oceania Football Confederation’s 11 Member Associations with a broad-ranging, strategic one-day meeting taking place in Auckland on Sunday 23 October. Following the Official Draw for the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia and New Zealand 2023™ on Saturday and the inauguration of OFC’s sparkling new complex, the focus turned to knowledge sharing and enhancing practices for the confederation’s national football associations.

FIFA Chief Member Associations Officer Kenny Jean-Marie

Kenny Jean-Marie, FIFA Chief Member Associations Officer kicked off proceedings with an update on key developments from FIFA headquarters, and the Member Associations Division. Tom Gorissen, Director FIFA Member Associations Services, subsequently presented the next iteration of FIFA’s development programmes: Forward 3.0. FIFA Director of Global Football Development Steven Martens, spoke to the group about FIFA’s Talent Development Scheme and the need for MAs to focus on a long-term approach; whilst FIFA Head of Women's Football Development Arijana Demirovic updated the group on FIFA’s Women’s Football Development programmes. Also in attendance, was Sanjeevan Balasingam, Director Member Associations Asia & Oceania, along with an audience comprised of Presidents and General Secretaries from the OFC member associations. “A lot of MA’s have benefitted from the FIFA Forward programme in all aspects of football development in Oceania,” said OFC President Lambert Maltock. “Some have infrastructure needs, some with women’s football, some with youth football, but all this has been developed with proper strategies.”

28th OFC Congress

As reflected with the new Home of Football in Auckland and various other ongoing projects across the Pacific, FIFA Forward enables MAs to finance their short-term objectives which are the building blocks of their long-term outcomes. FIFA’s MA Division are seeking to progressively bring together stakeholders despite the major challenges in the region for international travel, with the excessive cost of international travel a significant obstacle to football development in the region. Notably, with the FIFA Women’s World Cup heading to the region for the first time in 2023, a significant focus was also on further growing local women’s football, including how the improved use of the ITMS will enable national associations to benefit from solidarity payments. In 2018, transfers involving female players were incorporated into FIFA’s International Transfer Matching System (ITMS) for the first time. A total of 1,304 international transfers were recorded in women’s football in 2021, compared to 696 in 2018, an increase of 87 per cent.

“At OFC we have set some strategies about qualifying teams two teams for the FIFA World Cup in 2026, and also for the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2027,” said Maltock. “We have realigned our strategies so that both male and female football is embraced equally, with our programmes running in parallel with the same objectives. FIFA Forward funding has allowed us to do that.” The OFC workshop followed on from three recent opportunities for General Secretaries and leading administrators to come together in Paris, with Concacaf member associations over the last two weeks also meeting together in Miami. As well as presentations on aforementioned projects, the member associations are invited to provide feedback and input as to how FIFA’s myriad programmes can be optimised for global benefit.