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Australia boosts football development in Asia-Pacific

Australia boosts football development in Asia-Pacific
August 24, 2009

Oceania Football Federation President Reynald Temarii, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Football Federation Australia Chief Executive Ben Buckley signed a major sports partnership at the recent Pacific Islands Forum in Cairns.

During the Forum a major $4 million partnership was announced between the Australian Government, the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) and the Football Federation of Australia (FFA), to support and enhance the delivery of sports-based programs for community development in the Pacific.

Under this partnership, Australia will play a lead role in the delivery of broad and inclusive sports-based programs for community development through the Australian Sports Outreach Program (ASOP).

A key aim of ASOP, managed by the Australian Sports Commission (ASC) in partnership with AusAID, is to help Pacific communities to deliver their own quality, sports participation programs, which have social benefits in the areas of health, cohesion and leadership. The programs take place in mostly rural areas of Kiribati, Nauru, Samoa, Vanuatu, Fiji, Tonga and Solomon Islands.

The ASC's Manager of International Relations, Kylie Bates, recognised the value of collaborating with other agencies, stating "partnerships that are based on equity, transparency and mutual benefit are at the heart of what we do. The purpose of this partnership is to use each agencies strengths to provide better support to Pacific Island communities."

Ben Buckley welcomed the strengthening of Australiaâs partnership with the OFC adding "all of us at FFA are excited by this opportunity to contribute to capacity building in Pacific Island communities and to contribute to improved health and education outcomes through sustained participation in sport.

"We look forward to working with the Oceania Football Confederation, through the leadership of OFC President Reynald Temarii, to achieve outstanding results over the coming years."

The program will see the ASC work closely in partnership with the OFC and FFA to deliver sports development opportunities and pathways through football to improve the participation of people in physical activity across the Pacific communities.

Over three years, July 2009 to June 2012, the $4 million program will:

• Support the development and delivery of community-based sports activities in the Pacific
• Deliver the 'Just Play' sports participation program, which promotes physical activity for children aged six to 13 years and encourages community involvement
• Organise of the Pacific Youth and Sport Conference set to take place in Manukau, New Zealand, from 8th to 13th March 2010. The Conference will discuss how sport can play a role in improving health, fostering community development, reducing anti-social behaviour and promoting social cohesion among people in the Pacific.

The FFA has also signed a Memorandum of Understanding to provide addition support to the Asian Football Confederation's Vision Asia development program.

FFA Chairman Frank Lowy explained that Australia had wanted to contribute to the development of Asian football ever since becoming a part of the AFC family.

"From the outset, when we joined the AFC our objective was to be a productive and good member of the AFC.

"We were impressed with the AFC President's program for Vision Asia and we are proud and pleased to take part in his vision."

According to the agreement, Australia will provide support and resources via AFC.

There is also a provision in the MoU whereby FFA or Australian government agencies can directly give support and resources to an AFC Member Association or the government of an AFC Member Association.

AFC President Mohamed Bin Hammam explained "this is an historic agreement and underlines FFA's belief and commitment in AFC's Vision Asia. This contribution will go a long way in boosting Vision Asia."

5th February 2009 - ASIA MASSES BIDS FOR FIFA WORLD CUP


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