October 1, 2023

OFC confirms: Associate members to be included

OFC General Secretary Franck Castillo confirms exclusively to Football in Oceania that the Associate Members of the Oceania Football Confederation will be included in the fold, going forward.

OFC General Secretary Franck Castillo confirms, exclusively to Football in Oceania, that the Associate Members of the Oceania Football Confederation will be included in the fold, going forward.

CONIFA World Football Cup 2018 - Tuvalu
The Tuvalu national team could find themselves playing plenty more football in the coming years. Here in action at the 2018 CONIFA World Football Cup. (Photo credit: Con Chronis)

As Football in Oceania reported on Friday, Tuvalu Islands Football Association President Soseala Tinilau claimed that the OFC had decided to help the Associate Members with both funds and a chance to play more football.

In an email to Football in Oceania Castillo writes that following an Executive Committee meeting all members were positive to starting the plans to involve the Associate Members more.

“We had our Executive Committee meeting last month, and I am pleased to inform you that the President of OFC, Lambert Maltock, and the OFC executive Members recognized the importance to work with OFC Associate Members and agreed to assist Kiribati Islands Football Federation (KIFF) and Tuvalu Football (TF) to develop football,” Castillo writes.

Could play OFC tournament next year

So what can Tuvalu and Kiribati expect to gain from the Associate Members status coming out of hibernation?

“As Associate Members, KIFF and TF will be invited to take part in some of our development programmes and will receive technical assistance from the football division. The OFC Football division will be in touch with them to assess the situation and needs, develop a proper football development strategy and an operational plan. We can also assist them in building their budget,” Castillo writes.

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He also says they will be able to compete in competitions from next year onwards.

“KIFF and TF could take part in some of our competitions. Participation criteria will be communicated later on. We will start in 2021 (with the Coronavirus, all our competitions are postponed, so it’s not realistic to start in 2020).”

Financial aid and Just Play

As previously mentioned by TIFA President Tinilau, the Associate Members will receive 30,000 NZD (circa 18,000 USD or €16,000) in assistance. In addition the Just Play programme for children will come to the two countries.

“The OFC Executive Committee Members also agreed to provide 30,000NZD to KIFF and TF as financial assistance for 2020. The 30,000NZD have to be dedicated for Football activities only. The criteria and process will be sent later.

“The OFC Head of Social Responsibility, Melissa Palombi, will be in touch with them regarding the OFC Just Play programme (this social / grassroots programme is funded by the New Zealand Government, UNICEF in collaboration with the Government of Kiribati and KIFF. We plan to have Just Play in Kiribati and Tuvalu.”

Football in Oceania will update the story, as it develops.

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