For the first time in its 54-year history, the Oceania Football Confederation has held its Congress online.

Unable to bring the delegates together in person due to border closures across the Pacific, the OFC Executive Committee members and Member Association’s delegates instead met via video conference on September 4.

OFC was honoured to welcome the FIFA President Gianni Infantino and FIFA General Secretary Fatma Samoura, along with the other FIFA delegates, who attended the Congress despite the time difference.

Infantino addressed the 26th OFC Ordinary Congress with a message of congratulations to OFC for its continuous resilience during the ongoing pandemic and he also praised the efforts put forward to resume football in Oceania.

OFC President Lambert Maltock opened the Congress by focusing on three key items which have reshaped OFC’s strategic framework.

The first is the implementation of the OFC Football Development Strategy and the ongoing objective of increasing the level of football in Oceania in order to become more competitive across the board.

Maltock also identified the ongoing need to build the capacity of Member Associations at the football development, management and governance levels.

Finally, Maltock stated the strategic framework will see the reforms upheld and a continued effort to build the foundations of good governance within the Confederation, and its Member Associations.

The Confederation’s 2021 budget was presented outlining the key strategic framework which is focused on Member Association development and performance, in particular the key areas of national team development, governance and management, football development, and more specifically women’s football.

In addition to being the first online congress, an online voting system was introduced to manage the election of new members to several independent committees marking a step in a new and dynamic direction by OFC.

Independent members were elected to the Audit and Risk, Eligibility, and the Appeal Committees, taking each of them to five members in line with OFC Statutes.

The Audit and Risk Committee focuses on assisting and advising the Executive Committee in monitoring OFC’s audit, compliance and risk matters.

The Eligibility Committee conducts eligibility checks on nominees running for office within OFC, new Presidents of Member Associations and OFC’s General Secretary.

The Appeal Committee is responsible for hearing appeals against decisions from the Disciplinary and Ethics Committee and the Eligibility Committee.

The OFC Congress also passed a range of amendments to the existing statutes with the notable points being:

  • Introducing term limits on Executive Committee members. Terms are four years and a committee member can only serve a maximum of three terms (12 years), starting from their first election as their Member Association’s President after the 2020 OFC Congress
  • The OFC President and FIFA Council members nominations must get three Member Associations to support them to be valid
  • Introducing further obligations for Member Associations to include in their statutes, including to have their decision-making bodies elected at least every four years
  • Further refining the area of authority for Congress and the Executive Committee, giving the Executive Committee the power to amend the Code of Ethics and Governance Regulations

With these latest amendments approved by its Congress, OFC proves it remains committed to continuous reform designed to build sustainability, security, and transparency through good governance.

Former FIFA Development Officer, Glenn Turner, was made an honourable member of OFC before the close of the 26th Ordinary Congress.

Turner’s contribution to the region as a coach and development officer for the international governing body and for OFC is almost unrivalled.

Over the years he has been instrumental in the development of infrastructure across the Pacific through the FIFA GOAL Programme, and although he retired from FIFA in 2015, Turner continued to support OFC in a variety of roles before officially retiring earlier this year.