OFC boosts funding for governance, football development

Oceania Football is increasing funding to its 11 Member Associations to help them place a stronger emphasis on governance and football development.

OFC's 11 Member Associations will receive $NZ700,000 across two years - an increase of $NZ150,000 each year - while associate members Tuvalu and Kiribati will each receive $NZ60,000.

Of the $NZ350,000 annual grant, $NZ100,000 will be dedicated to national team costs with at least 25 per cent to be invested into the women's squad.

A further $NZ100,000 will be assigned to governance and management with the remaining $NZ150,000 to be spent on football development, with at least 25 per cent allocated to women's football.

OFC General Secretary Franck Castillo said the total investment of $NZ43 million dollars was part of the organisation's long-term goals of seeing two teams qualify for the men's FIFA World Cup in 2026 and the FIFA Women's World Cup in 2027.

"OFC is in much better shape today with improved governance and management structures," he said.

"Every single dollar is spent wisely to develop football, from the social aspect with the Just Play programme and grassroots investment to the elite level across the men's and women's game."

Tailor-made contracts will be negotiated with each Member Association to ensure there are clear plans in place for each nation to develop football in their own country.

OFC will also invest more than $NZ1 million into team preparation for sides that are attending a FIFA World Cup or the Olympics.

National teams from age-group level through to seniors will be given $NZ100,000 while beach soccer and futsal teams will receive $NZ50,000.

In light of the coronavirus pandemic, OFC has rejigged its operating budget for next year and will invest a further $NZ1.14 million into women's football activities across the region.

With the FIFA Women's World Cup 2023 set to be co-hosted by New Zealand, Castillo said the time was right to put more emphasis on the women's game.

"There is an opportunity for us to build a legacy for women's football in the coming years and OFC wants to drive the increased participation and investment in women's football in the Pacific," he said.

A new $NZ50,000 grant has been approved for Member Associations to invest in their local clubs, with the money to be split evenly between men's and women's teams, and used for costs such as administration, logistics, equipment, and football development.

"Clubs are the lifeblood of football in the Pacific and represent a crucial part of the development phase for our players," Castillo said.

From 2021, the OFC Champions League winners will receive $NZ75,000 in prize-money, with $NZ50,000 awarded for second place and $NZ25,000 each for the teams that finish third and fourth.