The Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) and French Embassy in Papua New Guinea signed an historic agreement at a press conference in Port Moresby last week securing the financial future of the OFC U-12 Festival of Football for years to come.
The agreement signed by OFC President Reynald Temarii and French Ambassador to Papua New Guinea Patrick Boursin is worth 60,000 Euros and was formulated as part of the France Co-operation programme which ensures France plays an active role in health, education and sports activities in the Oceania region.
Reynald Temarii said the signing of the agreement emphasised the positive role France was playing in the development of the region.
“Only the French Government is playing such an active role in helping to develop education and sport in the region and OFC is grateful for their involvement in this project,” Temarii said.
Ambassador Boursin was happy to be involved with the project with the France Co-operation.
“The French Government is very happy to be involved with this initiative. If you consider the inspirational achievements of Christian Karembeu – a man born in the South Pacific who became a world football champion – then it is an honour to be involved with the Oceania Football Confederation in the development of the Oceania region in sport, education and cultural understanding,” Boursin said.
Former France and Real Madrid footballer Christian Karembeu was on hand to give endorsement to the signing and said the concept of the OFC U-12 Festival of Football and the involvement of the French Government could only mean good things for the region on and off the football pitch.
“The importance of this tournament cannot be understated. When I was the age of these young footballers a tournament such as the OFC U-12 Festival of Football was only something I could dream about. Now we have the chance to see if there is the next Tim Cahill or Marama Vahirua playing amongst these children.
Any support to help make sure this tournament becomes a permanent feature in the OFC calendar can only be a good thing,” Karembeu said.
PNGFA President David Chung was on hand to extend his gratitude to OFC, the French Embassy and Christian Karembeu. Chung was recently nominated by EMTV, Post-Courier and YUMI FM in the PNG Sports Administrator of the Year category at the SP Sports Awards 2007 for his sterling work for football in a country where Rugby League is considered the number one sport.
“This is an historic moment for the PNGFA and football supporters in PNG as a whole. I am delighted to say thank you to OFC and French Embassy officials Reynald Temarii, Patrick Boursin and Christian Karembeu for making this all possible,” Chung said.