The Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) President Lambert Maltock and the FIFA President Gianni Infantino met in Paris this week for top level discussions on the future of football in Oceania.
The meeting was also attended by OFC General Secretary Franck Castillo.
The various high-level discussions included an update on the proposed OFC Professional League which will support OFC’s long-term goal of qualifying two teams at the FIFA World Cup 2026 and 2027.
The proposal was approved by the OFC Executive Committee in November last year.
It comes after FIFA President Gianni Infantino pledged FIFA’s support for the concept at the OFC 28th Ordinary Congress in Auckland.
“I always welcome the opportunity to discuss important football development matters with OFC President and FIFA Vice-President Maltock and OFC General Secretary Castillo.
At the moment in the Oceania region, the formation of the Oceania Professional League is a fundamental part of that mandate.” Infantino said.
“The proposals are a win-win for the development of all forms of the game across the region, and I once again pledge FIFA’s full support to help our friends and colleagues in Oceania to make this proposal become a reality.”
Following a four-year consultation process – and subsequent ratification by the OFC Executive Committee – President Maltock is now looking ahead to the next steps of the project, with the target of kicking the new league off in 2025.
The OFC President Maltock reemphasised the importance of the project.
“When I was elected, one of the most important projects that I wanted to do during my mandate is to create this professional league in Oceania,” the OFC President said.
“This is one of the most needed platforms of the competition that we need to prepare in order to be competitive on the international level.”
“Countries like New Caledonia – we produce a lot of good players, and one of these players has been a winner of the 1998 FIFA World Cup with France. That’s why we know that the potential in Oceania is huge, but it’s very much untapped because we had no competitions of this level in Oceania. This is why there is not much attention from the rest of the world so far, because, you know, there are good players in Oceania.”