The Oceania Football Confederation celebrated its 40th Anniversary at its Extraordinary Congress at the Radisson Hotel in Papeete, Tahiti last night.
Guests and representatives from AFC, CAF, CONCACAF, CONMEBOL, UEFA, the French Football Federation, The English FA, Korean Football Association, gathered alongside representatives from the eleven OFC member associations to celebrate the occasion.
FIFA Vice-President and CONCACAF President, Jack Warner, represented Sepp Blatter and FIFA and said the similarities between his own confederation and OFC were many.
“CONCACAF and OFC share many challenges; we have long distances to travel; we have the expenses of this travel and there are some people who think we are merely specks of dust in an ocean. But we are much more than that; we have overcome these great challenges to be a success in our own right.”
OFC Honorary President, Charlie Dempsey, 85, was on hand to witness the 40th Anniversary celebration and shared his views on the history of the youngest confederation with the audience.
“People have always asked me what it was like to work in football. That always made me smile; I never considered it work, I enjoyed doing what I did and I’m very proud to see the Oceania Football Confederation celebrate its 40th birthday. 40 years is a long time and the highlight for me was 1996 when we became a full confederation.”
FIFA President Sepp Blatter – unable to attend because of dental surgery – sent a message of congratulations via DVD and thanked Charlie Dempsey for all his hard work.
“We have to pay tribute to the leader of the OFC the monumental Charlie Dempsey. We have to pay big big thanks and gratitude to him for all he has done.
You have a new team, a young and energetic team and what they have done in just a few years has been impressive. My message to you is a message of courage, of hope. Use your energy.
You are a young confederation; you have been accepted by 170 votes to just 1 against. The whole of the football family was happy to give you the status of a full confederation.”
Sepp Blatter said the youthful qualities of Reynald Temarii and Tai Nicholas painted a bright future for the OFC.
Following the conclusion of the OFC Extraordinary Congress, OFC and its guests attended the inauguration of the National Technical Centre Tahiti Football Federation Goal Project in Pirae.
President of French-Polynesia, Mr. Oscar Temaru, spoke to the gathering before inviting them to the Presidential residence for cocktails.
The OFC Congress also witnessed the admission of four new associate members in Niue, Palau, Tuvalu, and the Federated States of Micronesia.