Monday 27 February 2023, 17:00

FIFA and OFC presidents meet in Paris

  • Gianni Infantino and Lambert Maltock discuss key football development matters for the Oceania region

  • High on the agenda was the planned formation of the OFC Professional League

  • The meeting took place at FIFA’s Paris bureau, France

FIFA President Gianni Infantino and Lambert Maltock, President of the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC), have met in Paris for high-level talks on the future of football within the region. A wide variety of topics were discussed during the meeting, which was also attended by OFC General Secretary Franck Castillo, including an update on the proposed OFC Professional League – the plans for which were approved by the Oceania Football Confederation Executive Committee in November 2022.

President Infantino said: “I always welcome the opportunity to discuss important football development matters with OFC President and FIFA Vice-President Maltock and OFC General Secretary Castillo. At the moment in the Oceania region, the formation of the Oceania Professional League is a fundamental part of that mandate.” Mr Infantino continued: “The proposals are a win-win for the development of all forms of the game across the region, and I once again pledge FIFA’s full support to help our friends and colleagues in Oceania to make this proposal become a reality.” Following a four-year consultation process – and subsequent ratification by the OFC Executive Committee – President Maltock is now looking ahead to the next steps of the project, with the target of kicking the new league off in 2025. Speaking directly after the meeting with the FIFA President, Mr Maltock reemphasised the importance of the project. “When I was elected, one of the most important projects that I wanted to do during my mandate is to create this professional league in Oceania,” the OFC President said. “This is one of the most needed platforms of the competition that we need to prepare [in order to] be competitive on the international level.” “Countries like New Caledonia – we produce a lot of good players, and one of [these players] has been [a winner of] the [1998 FIFA] World Cup with France. That’s why we know [that] the potential in Oceania is huge, but it’s very [much] untapped because we had no competitions of this level in Oceania. This is why there is not much attention from the rest of the world [so far, because], you know, there are good players in Oceania.”