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OFC pledges to move forward

Auckland 8 September 2003: The Oceania Football Confederation held an extraordinary congress at the Carlton Hotel in Auckland last Saturday, 6 September, 2003, where OFC president, Basil Scarsella, resigned from his post effectively after a majority 12-10 vote by the members.

The senior vice president, Tautulu Roebeck of Samoa, will now serve as acting president until the ordinary OFC congress, which the executive committee at its meeting held following the extraordinary congress, confirmed will be held on 24 April, 2004.

The membership also considered a change to the post of OFC Delegate to the FIFA executive committee. A motion to replace the current representative, `Ahongalu Fusimalohi, of Tonga was successful but subsequently challenged with further legal clarification now being sought on the matter.

The members will officially elect a new president and OFC delegate to the FIFA executive committee at next year’s OFC ordinary congress.

Acting president, Tautulu Roebeck, paid tribute to Scarsella for the work he had done since assuming the presidency in December, 2000, and vowed to steer the OFC forward under his leadership during the interim period until the presidency post is officially filled next April.

“Our priority now is to move forward as a united organisation with a renewed vigour,” Roebeck stated today.

“It is business as usual for the OFC. The recent events have not changed our focus on developing the game and I will ensure that operations continue to run smoothly.”

Roebeck reiterated that he will work closely with the executive committee and FIFA to ensure pertinent matters such as World Cup qualification are addressed and resolved.

“We will be directing our efforts on ensuring the Oceania champion will have the best possible pathway to the FIFA World Cup in 2006, Roebeck added.

“There are several priority targets that have been set which we have yet to achieve and I am confident we can reach them if we all work together for the good of the game. Differences must be put aside if our Confederation is to be treated as equals and with more respect in the football world.”

He also described recent comments and reports in the media claiming the OFC will be in a worse position under the helm of a Pacific Islander as unfair and unfounded.

“Unfortunately, the coverage received by the Pacific Island members has largely been negative and questions have been asked of our ability to lead, but I would like to assure the stakeholders in the region that this is untrue and one should not be so quick to judge considering a Pacific Islander has never occupied the leadership of OFC in an official capacity,” Roebeck remarked.

“Should a Pacific Islander be elected next year, we ask that he be supported wholeheartedly and judged according to his actions.”

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