OFC President Lambert Maltock recognises that football touches the hearts and minds of people the world over – its passion, wonder and ability to draw people together in the spirit of fair play regardless of race, colour or religion knows no limits.
To this end, OFC has formed several key partnerships to lift standards on the field while also using the power of football to help combat social problems such as HIV/AIDS, malaria, gender imbalance and poverty.
In 2009, OFC signed an AU$4 million partnership agreement with the Government of Australia and Football Federation Australia (FFA) to deliver sports-based programmes that contribute to community development in the Pacific. Together with Australian Aid, and FFA, OFC will work to deliver grassroots development projects such as ‘Just Play’ throughout the Pacific over a three-year period. In September 2013 OFC and the Australian Government extended their partnership for a further two years.
In January 2014 international child advocacy organisation United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Pacific office joined hands with OFC in a Programme Cooperation Agreement that will see them collaborate on the award-winning Just Play Programme. It has been said that Just Play is a perfect fit with UNICEF’s Sports for Development Programme which uses sports, recreation and play to fulfil the right to play and as an avenue for participation, learning, health and protection. The intial two-year agreement will see the two organisations working closely with Vanuatu, Solomon Islands and Samoa. The two organisations renewed their partnership in October 2015 for a further year.
In May 2015 the OFC Just Play Programme was announced as one of four initial projects to be supported by the newly established UEFA Foundation for Children. Following that, in July 2015, OFC announced a new three year partnership with the New Zealand Government through the New Zealand Aid Programme’s Partnerships for International Development Fund. The partnership will see the New Zealand Aid Programme support Just Play from 2015-2018, focusing on Cook Islands, Fiji, Samoa, Solomon Islands and Tonga. This partnership was again extended in 2016 for a further four year term.
OFC has partnered with the United Nations (UN) to promote the UN’s Millennium Development Goals and has also formed special relationships with a raft of non-Government organisations such as the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, UNESCO, South Pacific Forum and Alliance Francaise.
In terms of football partnerships, OFC has worked with FIFA, the FFA, the English FA, France Football Federation and UEFA to improve the technical development of all areas of the game including women’s football, coaching, grassroots and refereeing. In 2018 it partnered with Aspire Academy in Qatar.
OFC will continue to seek partnerships and use football as a unifying force to build a better future for Oceania.