By Paul Nicholson in Mexico City
May 13 – The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has signed a two-year agreement with its nearest neighbouring confederation, the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC), specifically to co-operate on football development, education and competitions.
In practice this will mean the two bodies increasing competition and hosting national and clubs sides as well as an exchange of information and expertise to improve both technical and administrative training.
This Memorandum of Understanding is the fourth the AFC has with other confederations joining agreements with the Africans (CAF), CONCACAF and UEFA. The AFC also has co-operation agreements with several European Leagues.
In a signing ceremony in Mexico City, the day before the FIFA Congress, AFC president Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa, Asian Football Confederation and OFC president David Chung stressed the importance of this co-operation for their federations and the opportunities it will bring.
“In Asia we recognise the many challenges that are shared by our friends in Oceania but we can also see great opportunities: Opportunities to use this great game to bring about social integration, cohesion and increase participation in our member associations,” said Salman.
“We will aim to work closely together in three key areas – competitions, education and development. But this MoU also allows us to do so much more. To exchange information, knowledge and good practices which will re-inforce the values of fair play, team spirit and integrity.”
Chung added: “This is an excellent opportunity to draw on the knowledge and experience across the 47 AFC Member Associations, while we can share the expertise we possess in Oceania.
“This is the beginning of a symbiotic relationship which will benefit all of our Member Associations… We are incredibly excited to be collaborating with one of our closest neighbouring Confederations and we are looking forward to the advantages the strengthening of our relationship will bring.”
Salman has been a strong advocate of bilateral sharing agreements between confederations, seeing them as important to creating a greater understanding throughout the world of football.
“At the AFC we have always believed that all Confederations must work together – both big and small – to reunite the game under the FIFA flag,” he said. “Only then can we restore confidence and trust of the people in football – and particularly in those who run football. Today I believe we are taking another crucial step in uniting Asia and Oceania as well as world football and with this unity will come strength.”
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