Friday 28 July 2023, 09:30

Gianni Infantino kicks off Oceania tour in Tahiti

  • Visit to Tahiti came ahead of the first leg of a trip to various member associations in Oceania

  • He met the Tahiti beach soccer team who will compete in the upcoming FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup 2023™

  • Gianni Infantino said that the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023™ is for the whole of Oceania

Gianni Infantino has stated that the FIFA Women's World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023™ belongs to the entire Oceania region during a visit to Tahiti, which came ahead of the first leg of a tour to the Pacific Islands region. The FIFA President, who took part in the opening ceremony for a football festival on a previous trip to the country earlier this month, also visited Tahiti’s beach soccer team.

“The FIFA Women’s World Cup™ is ongoing, at full-speed, in Australia and New Zealand. This FIFA Women’s World Cup is, of course, also the World Cup of the whole of Oceania,” he said. “That’s why I am very happy and proud to be here today in Tahiti, at the headquarters of the Tahitian Football Federation, to start a journey to members of FIFA from the Pacific Islands.”

The FIFA President also observed a practice match with the Tahiti national beach soccer team, who will compete in the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup UAE 2023™ which takes place in February next year. Before that, he participated in a match at the Tahitian Football Federation (FTF) headquarters on a new artificial turf pitch funded by the FIFA Forward development programme.

As announced at the Oceania Football Confederation Congress (OFC) on 19 July, Mr Infantino will visit a number of Oceania’s member associations and is due to see at first hand various projects which are being supported by FIFA Forward. “We are starting here, and I would like to thank my dear friend, Thierry Ariiotima, the President of the Tahitian Football Federation, his entire team and everyone who welcomes us here,” he said. “I’m looking forward to the next days of the FIFA Women’s World Cup, of course, and to a trip through the ‘Ocean’s 11’ to develop women’s football and football for young boys and girls alike.”

On his previous visit to Tahiti, the FIFA President took part in the opening ceremony for the Festival des îles, a five-day football event featuring teams from all over the country.

The FIFA President has backed the OFC’s plan to introduce an Oceania Professional League from 2025. For the FIFA World Cup 2026™, Oceania will have a guaranteed slot for the first time with the chance of a second through the inter-zonal play-off tournament.