During his address to the Oceania Football Confederation Congress in Auckland, New Zealand, on 19 July 2023, FIFA President Gianni Infantino stated his intention to visit a number of the Oceania Football Confederation’s Member Associations (MAs) during the FIFA Women’s World Cup™ in New Zealand and Australia.
To date, Infantino has visited Tahiti, Cook Islands, American Samoa, Samoa and Tonga, with plans to visit other OFC members over the next couple of weeks.
OFC President Lambert Maltock says the FIFA President’s visits to the MAs are more than just symbolic.
“Our Member Associations were longing for such a visit from the FIFA President, and this was also the OFC’s stated ambition, and in that sense the football community across our vast region would like to express our gratitude to Gianni Infantino and to FIFA for having shown a genuine respect for countries that are normally forgotten and marginalised,” Maltock said.
“These visits have a great significance to everyone in the Pacific region. They mean the FIFA Women’s World Cup is also part of Oceania, and that our members are part of it. They mean a lot to thousands and thousands of young girls and boys in the remote islands of the Pacific who are given encouragement to play football and to hope that one day they too can shine on the world stage.”
Maltock expressed his gratitude for the FIFA President’s effort to see first-hand the work that is being done in the region.
“One of the commitments the FIFA President has made to OFC was to visit our members and this has met every one of our expectations,” he said.
“Especially having the opportunity to explain in person the challenges and ambitions of our members is something unique for which we are deeply grateful. We are looking forward to the next round of visits in the coming weeks while at the same time we continue to enjoy the greatest FIFA Women’s World Cup ever on our doorstep,” he said.