FIFA and New Zealand Football
FIFA (Federation Internationale de Football Association) is the international governing body for football and has delegated its sporting powers in New Zealand to New Zealand Football (NZF).
NZF is one of 209 associations currently affiliated to FIFA. FIFA supports the associations financially and logistically through various programmes and grants them a number of attractive rights and privileges.
This also brings obligations and as a representative of FIFA, NZF must respect the statutes, aims and ideals of football’s governing body and promote and manage the sport accordingly.
Football in New Zealand
Football is one of New Zealand’s most popular sports, played in many forms through all seasons by males and females of all ages.
While also popular as a participation sport for adults, it has become New Zealand’s most popular participation sports for children aged 16 and under due to its high popularity among both boys and girls.
Football is traditionally a winter sport and local club football (and national cup competitions) continues to be played between late March and September, although New Zealand’s National Leagues for men, women and youth (men) are played in summer. Futsal, the FIFA-endorsed format of indoor football, is played all year round.
New Zealand Football, a member of both FIFA and OFC , is responsible for leading and governing the game at a national level but at a grass roots level football is delivered, in accordance with NZF’s vision for the game, by seven member federations with five covering the North Island and two covering the South Island.
There are approximately 500 football clubs in New Zealand, affiliated to New Zealand Football via one of its member federations, competing in local and in some cases cross-federation competitions.
The Premiership and the related Youth League are contested by franchises, and the National Woman’s League features federation representative sides.
The Fédération Internationale de Football Association was founded in Paris in 1904 by a group of seven European countries but grew steadily until now there are more than 200 member nations of FIFA, a number higher than the United Nations. New Zealand Football Association (as it was known then) has been affiliated with FIFA since 1948.
FIFA oversees the world’s most popular sport, developing, regulating and improving it while leveraging its popularity as a unifying force and as a tool of social and human development.
FIFA is organised into the following six confederations; UEFA (Europe), CONCACAF (Central & North America and the Caribbean), CAF (Africa), CONEMBOL (South America), AFC (Asia) and OFC (Oceania).
Oceania Football Confederation
Formed in 1966, OFC is the umbrella organisation of the national football associations within Oceania, and although it is the smallest of the world’s six Confederations, it is an active participant within the FIFA football family. Along with other football confederations, OFC works to provide support to football’s international governing body.
The OFC is comprised of the following 11 nations; New Zealand, Fiji, Tahiti, Samoa, Tonga, Cook Islands, Vanuatu, New Caledonia, American Samoa, Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea. New Zealand was a founding member.
New Zealand national teams and in some cases New Zealand clubs compete in OFC organised championships such as the Oceania Nations Cup, Oceania Women’s Nations Cup, OFC age-group champions, the O-League, and World Cup qualifiers as a pathway to participation at FIFA tournaments like the FIFA World Cups and Olympic Games Football Tournament.