The Oceania Football Confederation aims to launch a professional league for the region’s clubs in 2025.
The new competition would potentially replace the OFC Champions League, of which Auckland City are the current champions.
Plans to form the new league were approved by a meeting of the OFC Executive Committee held in Doha, Qatar, at the weekend.
“The advent of the OFC Professional League is an important step in helping to raise the profile of club football across the Oceania region,” FIFA President Gianni Infantino says.
Infantino pledged FIFA’s support for the concept at the OFC 28th Ordinary Congress in Auckland last month, saying: “I see it as a win-win for the development of not only club football, but also to help reinforce the development of national team football across the entire region.
“You can rely on FIFA’s support as you embark on this crucial venture for the long-term development of our sport here.”
OFC set up a taskforce in 2019 to test the viability of a professional league.
The taskforce has carried out research and analysis, as well as a business case study, OFC media reports.
At last weekend’s Executive Committee meeting, OFC President Lambert Maltock said the professional league would play a crucial role in elevating the region’s football.
“As leaders of Oceania football, we are responsible for the growth of football, and we need to move forward to make this happen,” Maltock said.
Maltock flagged his support for a professional club league early this year, following his election as OFC president.
He said then he wanted to create a competition that helped the elite players in the region.
“I want to review the OFC Champions League and look at, for example, making it a professional league,” he said.
Main photo: Lambert Maltock … ‘We need to make this happen.’
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Who would be involved
The federation has 11 full members and two associate members (who are not affiliated to FIFA).
Full members are American Samoa, Cook Islands, Fiji, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tahiti, Tonga and Vanuatu.
Associate members are Kiribati and Tuvalu.