A cooperation agreement was recently signed between the Cook Islands Football Association (CIFA) and the Federation Tahitienne de Football (FTF) with the support of the United Nations.

The Cook Islands Government (in collaboration with CIFA) support the idea to use sports in general, and football in particular, as a way to promote cultural exchange, healthy values and education of youth by through citizen exchanges between Cook Islands and French Polynesia.

With objectives including providing cultural exchanges through friendly competitions; providing competent coaches and referees to educate youth; capacity building through administration assistance; and using sports in the campaign to promote the fight against social issues; the cooperation agreement goes beyond the playing of the sport alone.

Teams ranging from senior international, club champions, under 15 and under 13 will all be involved in various exchanges. Each team will be accompanied by a referee who will officiate in the host nations events.

Similarly, coaches from the Cook Islands will attend courses coordinated by the French Football Association and delivered in French Polynesia.

It is hoped that similar programmes are organised between developed football countries and developing football countries within the OFC region.

Summary of Cooperation Agreement

Competition Exchanges

* FTF will invite the national U13 and U15 teams of CIFA to participate in the Socredo Challenge to held in Papeete, Tahiti in May each year during school holidays

* FTF agree to send their men’s national team to Rarotonga to play matches against the Cook Islands national team within the period of 1st -15th July each year

* FTF will invite the club champion of CIFA to participate in the TNTV Club Challenge held in the first weekend of September each year

* CIFA will invite the TNTV Club Challenge Champion to play against the CIFA club champion in Rarotonga in the first week of November each year

Referee Exchanges

* Each U13 and U15 team from the Cook Islands will have a youth referee as part of the team delegation for the Socredo Challenge tournament who will gain experience by refereeing in this tournament

* A Cook Islands referee will be part of the delegation of the CIFA club champion participating in the TNTV Club Challenge and will gain experience refereeing in this tournament

* A Tahitian referee will part of the delegation of the TNTV club champion to play a match in Rarotonga and will officiate in this with the CIFA club champion to be played in November

* CIFA will send two senior assistant referees to officiate in the quarter final and/or semi-finals of the French Polynesian Cup in May each year

* FTF will invite referees and/or referee instructors to participate in FTF referee courses organised in conjunction with the French Football Federation

* FTF will provide their Referee Instructor, Massimo Raveino to Cook Islands to conduct referee or instructor courses one week per year

Coaching Exchanges

* FTF has a number of coaching courses in Tahiti which is based on the French Football Federation system and the FTF will invite coaches from CIFA to be part of these coaching courses (2 CIFA coaches to be invited each year)

* FTF will invite a national team coach from the Cook Islands to be part of the of FTF national team training camps (2 CIFA coaches to be invited each year)

Administration Exchanges

* FTF will invite the CIFA staff to be attached to the FTF office for 1 week per year to gain experience in the administration of football

* FTF through their co-operation agreement with Tahiti Nui Television (TNTV) will send a film crew to film the matches between both national teams in July without charge and the tapes will be given to CIFA to be shown on their local television

Promotion of social issues

* During all competitions, courses and other events of this solidarity programme both CIFA and FTF agree to organise number of public awareness campaigns. To use sports in the campaign to promote the fight against AIDS, obesity, drugs and violence etc.