Friday 21 October 2022, 07:30

OFC Home of Football opens its doors

  • Inauguration ceremony takes place in Auckland, New Zealand

  • OFC earlier offers their unanimous support to Gianni Infantino for his re-election

  • FIFA President supports the possible establishment of a professional men's league in the region

The doors of the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) Home of Football have opened following a inauguration ceremony in Auckland, New Zealand, that included extensive involvement of the global football community.

"This is the culmination of a long-awaited dream, which has been in the pipeline since 2002,” said OFC President Lambert Maltock prior to cutting the ceremonial ribbon together with FIFA President Gianni Infantino and FIFA Council Member Giorgios Koumas, who was representing UEFA. “This building should have become a reality long before now, but this was down to the old administration. This is a new administration and a new OFC, and we embarked on a new process to renew our organisation, until December 2021 when the dream of a dedicated hub for football here in Oceania became a reality.”

“This new home symbolises our commitment to the growth of football in Oceania,” he added. “FIFA accompanied us from the beginning and stayed with us until the end, and now you can see the reality is here. I am proud. The world was seeing OFC as forgotten, but everyone can see that we are here now.”

Gifted the Māori name, “Te Kahu o Kiwa”, the building will serve to support the guardians of football in the great Pacific Ocean and features two artificial pitches and dressing rooms that can host elite football matches, as well as being the new home for the OFC administration.

“This new home of football symbolises a lot and today we are filled with joy and happiness because the OFC was able to turn the page” said FIFA President Gianni Infantino. “As an organisation, you are able and capable, and through your hard work, dedication and resilience, you have created this beautiful home. Not only that, but there a football pitches here that will allow children to play and to spend their time at this wonderful facility. This is what we all want to achieve by giving joy and hope to children. With our humble contribution from FIFA, we are very proud to witness this historic moment. You can be proud of yourselves, and I am proud of you.”

Prior to the inauguration, the 28th OFC Ordinary Congress took place, where all 11 FIFA Member Associations of the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) provided their unanimous backing to FIFA President Gianni Infantino in advance of next year’s 73rd FIFA Congress.

"To Gianni Infantino, for all you have done for football in Oceania and for our 11 member associations, and for bringing the most prestigious FIFA Women's World Cup to this part of the world, to New Zealand in the southern hemisphere, to our world, we would like to announce officially our unanimous support for your nomination," the OFC President said.

In his address, the FIFA President acknowledged the support received from the OFC, and offered his support for the project of the establishment of a professional men's league in the region, a topic high on the football agenda in the region.

"FIFA wholeheartedly supports the efforts to create an Oceania professional league, because we need to professionalise the game everywhere across all the islands," the FIFA President said. "There are challenges across all of the islands, and we need to turn these challenges into advantages, in order to create professional football at the top level. We will work for that, and we expect that together with FIFA, all confederations and member associations will provide their support."