For the first time, Oceania Football Confederation referees attended a Safeguarding workshop hosted by OFC who have been making admirable strides towards safeguarding in football.

44 referees across Oceania were in Auckland for a week-long OFC Referee Elite Training Course.

Held at Auckland’s AUT Millennium, the OFC workshop welcomed the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 Safeguarding Manager, Katie Hodges as a guest speaker. Hodges shared her extensive knowledge and experience to deliver safeguarding, what to look for and what to report when an issue does arise.

OFC Head of Social Responsibility, Michael Armstrong recognises the unique opportunity of being able to learn from such a high level of expertise.

“It was a privilege to have Katie share her knowledge and experience and to hear what is in place for the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023. The learnings we can take from this pioneering tournament represent a real legacy from hosting the world’s largest Women’s sport event in our region.” Said Armstrong.

The workshop is just one of the many initiatives of the OFC Pacific Legacy programme which works to ensure a sustainable and positive impact for football in our region with large contributions due to hosting the FIFA 2023 Women’s World Cup.

“Unfortunately, the Pacific has some of the highest rates of violence and especially violence against women and girls in the world,” said Armstrong.

“At OFC we are doing what we can to address this violence and abuse both on and off the pitch through an integrated safeguarding programme across all of football.”

“It was great to have the opportunity to share this information with the referee group. They are obviously an essential part of football. We need to ensure they are protected and to support them to play an important role in identifying and responding to any signs of abuse or harm. “

“OFC are working to raise safeguarding awareness across all areas of the game and at multiple levels from grassroots through to high performance. Ultimately, the goal is to keep participants, coaches, referees and all involved within the game safe,” said OFC Social Responsibility and Legacy Programme Manager Alison Osborne.