MSG Secretariat signs historical MOU with OFC

Signing of the MSG Secretariat & OFC MoU, witnessed and supported by the Hon Minister of Sports Mr. Willie Pakoa Satearoto (centre in suit), President of SHAMA province to the left, Malmal Langi Touve and Lord Mayor of Luganville Town, Malmal Langi Touve, to the right of the Hon Minister. Seated are the President of the Oceania Football Confederations (OFC), Mr. Lambert Maltok (left) and MSG Secretariat Acting Director General, Mr. George Hoa’au. Picture: SUPPLIED

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed today, Friday, July 3, 2020, between the MSG Secretariat Acting Director General, George Hoa’au and the President of the Oceania Football Confederations (OFC), Lambert Maltok to establish a mutually cooperative relationship between the two organisations, in promoting and developing football and futsal in Melanesia.

The MoU’s objective include a long term legacy plan in which prior to the opening of the competition, will provide a fora for coaches and game officials training and development, experience sharing on the basis of mutual respect, and establish terms and conditions concerning the agreement, in developing and strengthening the level of football within Melanesia.

According to the MoU, the Secretariat will, among other things, prepare a programme of the Tournament/ competition in consultation with OFC, which will be hosted by a MSG member on a rotational basis, for the MSG Prime Ministers Cup and Melanesian Games.

The signing ceremony was history in the making, when it took place at the Northern Town Provincial Headquarters with the presence of Honourable Minister for Youth Development and Sports, Willie Pakoa Satearoto; SANMA Provincial President Malmal Langi Touve; the Lord Mayor of Luganville town, Peter Pati; Police Commander of Northern Town, Mr. Willie Samuel; the Principal Education Officer, Thomson Paul; Secretary General of Vanuatu Football Federation, (VFF) Albert Manaroto; Senior Government Officials and prominent representatives of the business houses.

Hon Minister Willie Satearoto expressed his appreciation to the two organisations, the MSG Secretariat and Oceania Football Confederation for finally arriving at this signing ceremony saying it is is a milestone achievement and he was pleased to witness this historical event.

He concluded that, “Sports is everybody’s business, a healthy nation is a nation with healthy citizens and a healthy nation is a nation that has youths that have respect and responsibility in them”.
President Oceania Football, Lambert Maltok said, he was elated and today’s signing was a dream come true.

“I started this discussion even before I became President of the OFC but I was determined to see it come to fruition during my 4-year term. I am proud that the MSG Secretariat has taken a strong move to ensure our football is elevated to another level and our agenda behind this MoU is to ensure that two MSG member countries or one must qualify to take part in the 2026 FIFA World Cup. MSG Acting Director General, George Hoa’au acknowledged Hon. Willie Pakoa Satearoto, saying his presence signified the Government’s unwavering support towards sports development in Vanuatu and through Melanesia, and in particularly eyeing Vanuatu to be the host in reviving this Tournament.

“This MoU is a milestone for us in Melanesia because I understand that this tournament will be a Tier 1, a level recognised by FIFA which will leverage Football in Melanesia,” he remarked.

Mr Hoa’au confirmed that following the MoU signing and when our borders are open and countries returnto normalcy, “we will start the dialogue with the proposed host on a way forward and a date to be
confirmed for the revival of the tournament, however at this stage we are yet to follow suit with the advice
given from OFC”.

The ADG explained that the Sports Programme is not a new one at the Secretariat, however it is now realigned to a stand-alone programme with a new officer and there are now a lot more activities and
programmes expected to be developed within the region.

He noted that within the Secretariat, there are a number constituent bodies and the MSG Sports
Committee, which meets once or twice a year, is one of them.

This committee he said, decides on sports programmes and activities, out of which outcomes are then discussed at the Ministerial level.

Last September 2019, the Inaugural MSG Sports Ministers meeting was held in Port Vila, which
subsequently endorsed the revival of the Melanesian Football Cup but with the change of name to, “MSG
Prime Ministers’ Cup”.

The signing of the MoU concluded efforts by the MSG Secretariat’s Sports Development Officer, Mr Henry Bill, a successful round of consultation in 2019 through all MSG members beginning from Vanuatu, to New Caledonia, Fiji, Papua New Guinea and to the Solomon Islands.

In these consultations, the discussions included the Revival of the Melanesian Cup, now known as the MSG Prime Ministers Cup.

During these consultations all Football National Federations agreed to the initiative and also proposed
that the MSG Secretariat take the lead in dialogue with the biggest Football Body, FIFA, through the
Oceania Football Confederation.

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