The OFC Executive Committee, meeting in Auckland on Saturday, confirmed it will investigate the concept of the men’s OFC Olympic Qualifying Tournament being absorbed into next August’s 2015 Pacific Games Men’s Football tournament in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.

The tournament was originally scheduled as a stand-alone tournament in Tonga in December 2015.

The new approach could see the New Zealand U-23 Men’s team participate in the Pacific Games Men’s Football tournament for the first time. Historically, Australian and New Zealand multisport teams and athletes have not participated in the Pacific Games but the executive expressed its support for a more rounded representation of pacific nations at the next edition.

Following on from the Interpol Conference in February 2014, the Executive Committee unanimously approved the 11 point plan for anti-Match Fixing and will be referred to the next OFC Congress for endorsement. OFC expressed gratitude to the New Zealand Government for taking a leading role by implementing legislation which made it a criminal offence for match manipulation.

The Executive Committee also completed a tour of the OFC Home of Football. The completion of the $20 million dollar facility is expected in August 2015. The Home of Football project is partly funded by a loan from FIFA and features two artificial pitches, an administrative headquarters, Futsal court, meeting and conference facilities.

The committee acknowledged the contribution of $30 million USD of FIFA investment in the shape of infrastructure projects and development programmes in OFC’s 11 member associations between 2011-2014.

It then approved the format for the 2016 OFC Nations Cup which will double as 2018 FIFA World Cup™ Qualifying.

The 2016 OFC Nations Cup begins with a Preliminary competition that features the four Polynesian countries in March 2015. The winner of the Preliminary will be drawn into one of two groups of four teams at Stage 2. Stage 2 will comprise Fiji, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Tahiti and Vanuatu.

The top two teams in each section advance to Stage 3 in a final group of four teams. The World Cup™ Qualifying draw for Russia 2018 will take place at the Konstantinovsky Palace in Strelna, Saint Petersburg on 25 July 2015.

Elsewhere on the agenda, it was noted that the new apparel business of OFC – OFC Commercial Limited – anticipated $1 NZD million in sales for the next year.

Approval was given for the 2015 edition of the OFC Champions League tournament to be played in Ba and Suva in Fiji next April. This includes the semi-final and final which will also be played in Fiji.

The committee also welcomed two new faces to the OFC. NZF Board member Paul Cochrane is New Zealand Football’s observer to the executive and Sarai Bareman – former CEO of Football Federation Samoa – is the newly appointed OFC Operations Manager.

The committee also rubber-stamped the launch of new OFC website, the establishment of the OFC Football foundation and the OFC 50th Anniversary Programme in 2016.

The OFC 50th Anniversary Programme includes a book detailing the history of the confederation, a football museum and a proposed documentary.

The next meeting of the OFC Executive Committee is scheduled to take place in Auckland on 6 December.

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