Tuesday 15 August 2023, 07:30

Gianni Infantino inaugurates headquarters for New Caledonian Football Association

  • HQ was constructed with support from the FIFA Forward programme

  • FIFA President discussed ways of further boosting football development in the country

  • Gianni Infantino said the FIFA Women’s World Cup™ belonged to all of Oceania

Gianni Infantino has inaugurated a headquarters for the New Caledonian Football Association (FCF), constructed with support from the FIFA Forward development programme, during a visit to the Pacific island. The FIFA President also met Mickaël Forrest, the Minister for Youth, Sport and Culture, and discussed further development projects, especially regarding women’s football and the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) Professional League for men’s football which is planned to start in 2025.

“I look forward to working together with the government and everyone at the New Caledonian Football Federation, led by President Gilles Tavergeux, to further boost the development of football in the country, and use our beautiful game to help young girls and boys live their dream,” said the FIFA President.

The French overseas collectivity is a football-loving destination and Gianni Infantino said that the ongoing FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023™, belonged to the entire region. “It is very evident that the people here love and breathe football, joining the rest of the countries of the Pacific islands in celebrating the greatest and most inclusive FIFA Women’s World Cup ever – a tournament which is the whole of Oceania’s World Cup,” he said.

The FIFA delegation included FIFA Vice-President and Oceania Football Association (OFC) President Lambert Maltock, FIFA Deputy Secretary General – Football Mattias Grafström, FIFA Referees Committee Chairman Pierluigi Collina, Senior Football Advisor Youri Djorkaeff and two-time FIFA Women’s World Cup™-winning coach Jill Ellis, who is also FIFA Technical Advisory Group leader for women’s football. In relation to the OFC Professional League, Mr Infantino said this would give other players the chance to follow in the footsteps of Christian Karembeu who was born in New Caledonia and went on to shine on the biggest stage, winning the FIFA World Cup™ with France in 1998. “It's important to establish professionalism in football in Oceania to provide a pathway. Afterwards, those who shine in this league will have doors open wide to other leagues in Asia, Europe and Australia,” said Mr Infantino. “We want more Christian Karembeus”.

FIFA Forward funds have also been used to improve the existing domestic competitions for men, women, boys and girls in football and futsal in New Caledonia, and to fund the national team activities and international engagements overseas.

New Caledonia will take part at the FIFA U-17 World Cup in Indonesia later this year, having qualified for the competition for the second time.