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Spanish lend helping hand in Pacific

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed between OFC and the Royal Spanish Football Federation in May of 2011 with the intention that support would be provided to OFC in a variety of areas, including implementing an exchange programme for players, teams and officials, assisting with World Cup preparations, supporting OFC in its social responsibility projects, securing media rights for major competitions and numerous other initiatives.
This agreement has borne fruit recently with the federation hosting the Kurukuru, the Solomon Islands national futsal team, and organising a series of friendly matches in Spain during October as the team prepared for the FIFA Futsal World Cup Thailand 2012. The support paid off as the Kurukuru went on to defeat Guatemala 4-3 for their first ever win at the event.
Following hot on the heels of that success, the Spanish federation has further shown its support to Oceania football by conducting a Legal and CEO Seminar at OFC headquarters in Auckland this week.
The two-day seminar was run by three delegates from the Spanish federation – Gorka Villar Bollain, director of the Sport Advisers company and a consultant for the federation, Kepa Larumbe Beain, a member of the disciplinary committee, and legal advisor Marta Ruiz-Torres Ayucar – who took the participants through many aspects of football-related regulations and administration.
In attendance were the CEOs of OFC’s member associations and they were given the opportunity to hear from the Spanish instructors regarding such topics as the correct procedures around transfers, statutes and judicial bodies, as well as other important components of successfully running a national federation.
OFC General Secretary Tai Nicholas says the staging of the Legal and CEO Seminar is another show of the Spanish federation’s support for OFC and believes the partnership can only be beneficial.
“We are very grateful to enjoy the benefits of a partnership with a federation as well run as the Royal Spanish Football Federation,” he says.
“The relationship has already brought about positive results in the form of the Kurukuru and there are sure to be plenty more successful outcomes as it is fostered further over the coming months.”
Nicholas says the seminar has arrived at a timely moment as the activities of OFC continue to increase.
“We now have more tournaments and programmes than ever before and it is therefore vital the sport is administered correctly in each of our member associations,” he says.
As well as hosting the Kurukuru prior to the FIFA Futsal World Cup, the Spanish federation also donated a set of futsal balls to the Solomon Islands Football Federation, while coach José Venancio López, who led Spain to a runners-up placing at Thailand 2012, spent time in Solomon Islands earlier this year to assist the Kurukuru in their preparations before heading to New Zealand to conduct a coaching course.
The Legal and CEO Seminar took place immediately after a FIFA/OFC Financial Seminar that also focused on the procedures of running a federation and was conducted by Thierry Regenass, FIFA Director of Member Associations and Development.
In addition to its partnership with the Royal Spanish Football Federation, OFC also has a similar relationship with the English FA and is working closely with UEFA and the governments of Australia and New Caledonia to support the development of football and a variety of social responsibility projects.

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