Eight independent members from across the OFC Appeals Committee and OFC Disciplinary and Ethics Committee had the opportunity to connect in person for the first time in Auckland at the FIFA/OFC Judicial Bodies Workshop last month.  

Judicial bodies are instrumental in ensuring OFC is held accountable for administrative decisions and are responsible for upholding the principles of integrity and fairness by applying the OFC Statues, OFC Code of Ethics and the OFC Disciplinary Code.  

The workshop was split into three sessions: a presentation of FIFA and OFC’s Judicial Bodies and their respective secretariats, procedural aspects and general principles of the proceedings, before the judicial bodies and general principles of appeals before the Court of Arbitration for Sport and the Swiss Federal Tribunal Case law.  

The one-day event was facilitated by FIFA Head of Judicial Bodies (Adjudicatory) Julien Deux, FIFA Legal Counsel, Judicial Bodies (Adjudicatory) Molly Strachan and OFC (acting) Head of Legal and Compliance Farah Mohammed.  

American Samoa-based Deputy Chairperson of the Adjudicatory Chamber of the FIFA Ethics Committee Fiti Sunia also spoke via online video link. 

Mohammed said the purpose of the workshop was to connect and reinforce the importance of the decisions made by the members and the direct impact their decisions have on upholding integrity in the OFC region.  

“Ensuring our members are connected contributes towards consistent decision making,” Mohammed said.  

“To best equip our members to deliver balanced and fair decision making, OFC recognises that we must provide opportunities for them to regularly connect to ensure harmony and cohesion across the bodies.  

“It’s important they are kept updated about the sporting context, on recent jurisprudence adopted by the Court of Arbitration of Sport and how FIFA continue to develop their framework. 

“Independence, impartiality and confidentiality are three pillars of ensuring our bodies make fair and balanced decisions. We thank the members for their ongoing commitment to fulfilling these duties.” 

Deux echoed those thoughts.  

“It was so nice to see the participants interact directly. We saw many interactions during the workshop that you wouldn’t get online, it’s also good that we from FIFA were able to come to the Confederation,” Deux said.  

“It was great overall and we enjoyed exchanging information through open discussions.” 

While cases differ based on the specific facts and circumstances of the matter, the regulations applied are the same which are underpinned by overarching legal principles.  

Therefore, consistency across decision making reinforces the natural justice principles of fairness and transparency, further enhancing and developing the way football is governed in the OFC region.