KIFA - History and general information

Kiribati is an independent country in the central Pacific and it is situated on the equator. The population of Kiribati is about 103,000 in the last census in 2010 with approximately half this number living on Tarawa the capital. There are 33 island atolls throughout the country and the capital is Tarawa where government activities are centralized. Transport between these islands is by boat and plane but of course the former is more common due to its low costs.

2. Football History
The game of football in Kiribati started in the 1950s but it was more or less on an ad hoc basis with teams throughout the country playing for fun. Later in the 50s, football started to become more organized with matches held between villages. There were no rules used at the time. In the 1960s, the game of football became more organized with committees conducting games between villages during special occasions like the Christmas, Easter and other National festivities.

In 1980, a football association started to form which organized a football tournament between islands. The first national football tournament was held in 1984 and most outer islands participated in the national tournament. The national tournaments were conducted on an annual basis since the first national tournament. It was in the early 1980s when workshops were conducted for referees on the rules of football and local coaches on what they need to do to the teams in terms of tactics, training, formation, etc. this incited greater keenness among local enthusiasts. More workshops for referees and coaches have been conducted thereafter with the most recent in February 2003 by a FIFA accredited coach and referee.

The agenda of the football association since 1984 was more national but with the establishment of KIFA in 2002 the agenda changed to regional and international focus. KIFA is now looking at ways of improving its international image by first allowing coaches to come to Kiribati on a regular basis. Secondly, KIFA is planning to visit neighboring countries like Tuvalu and Fiji to play friendly matches with the aim of improving the standard of football in Kiribati.

3. Political structure
KIFA is the only football association in the country and it has been registered with the Government and its certificate of registration is attached as Annex 1-1.

Kiribati is an independent democracy with elections carried out every four year. Since Kiribati was a former British colony, it followed the British style of government when it became independent in 1979. The economy is an open one that allows and promotes the free flow of goods and services in and out of the country.

Kiribati is a copra producing country and thus depends very much on the price of copra in the world market. It is also a provider of seamen that work on overseas fishing vessels thus making the country very dependent on what goes on in the global economy. The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund carry out their economic and financial surveillance of the country every 2 years to determine if the country is following sound economic policies.

4. International Records
Kiribati had participated in the South Pacific Games in Fiji in 1979 and again in 2003. There had been friendly matches with the Nauru Football Team, the American, German and the British Navy football teams when they arrived in Tarawa for a short visit.

Selection into the national team for international matches like the South Pacific Games is done by KIFA's executive committee based on strict criteria from among the best players in KIFA's football matches.

5. Members of the KIFA Executive
President - Ioteba Redfern
Vice President - Johnny Kulene
General Secretary - Kireata Ruteru
Assistant Secretary - Tenea Atera
Treasurer - Navahine Pine
Assistant Treasurer - Ms Aren Tebau
Chairman of the Referees' Committee - Kautotoki Matia

Chairman of the Coaches' Committee - Pine Iosefa

KIFA has 1 staff carrying out the administrative work of the association. This includes dissemination of correspondences and distribution of sporting goods purchased by the executive to member associations on the outer islands. These sporting goods are purchased from the member associations' annual contributions and OFC annual grant. The executive committee executes the purchase with the assistance of the sport development officer. There are plans to recruit an accountant to help in the safe keeping of the association's finances.

The one staff is voluntary in that he is not paid since KIFA does not have the required financial resources.

The members of the executive were elected into office during a meeting of the Kiribati Sports Authority in 2002 and endorsed by the Annual General Meeting of KIFA conducted in 2004.

6. Number of members
The number of playing members can be seen in the Table below:

Makin 205 86 292 115
Butaritari 652 115 754 258
Marakei 410 125 553 154
Abaiang 758 253 895 365
North Tarawa 662 114 986 352
TUC 995 525 1580 735
BTC 996 515 1496 734
Maiana 221 122 295 142
Kuria 98 54 253 95
Aranuka 132 95 171 101
Abemama 412 235 695 426
Nonouti 566 231 754 468
Tabiteuea North 652 224 732 351
Tabiteuea South 215 95 253 126
Onotoa 215 85 296 112
Beru 312 165 523 243
Nikunau 253 114 553 293
Tamana 101 69 135 88
Arorae 152 79 392 196
Kiritimati 411 164 632 254
TOTAL 8418


So, the total number of playing members on Tarawa, the capital and on the outer islands is 29,731. There are no professional players.

7. Number of Clubs registered with KIFA
On the capital Tarawa and Betio, the following clubs have been registered:
1. Bonriki village Football Club
2. Bairiki village Football Club
3. Bikenibeu village Football Club
4. Shipyard Football Club
5. Ambo village Football Club
6. KPA Football Club
7. Eita village Football Club
8. ANZ Football Club
9. Flying Tigers Football Club
10. Frigate Football Club
11. Banraeba village Football Club
12. SAOK Football Club
13. Teaoraereke village Football Club
14. Temanoku Football Club
15. Tarawa Motors Football Club
16. Police HQs Football Club
17. Temaiku village Football Club
18. KSSL Football Club
19. KSCL Football Club

School Football Clubs
1. KGV/EBS Football Club
2. SHHS Football Club
3. COGHS Football Club
4. Animwaro JSS Football Club
5. MHS Football Club
6. Betio JSS Football Club
7. WGMHS Football Club
8. TM Primary Football Club
9. SLHS Football Club
10. AN Primary Football Club
11. Bikenibeu Primary Football Club
12. Bairiki Primary Football Club
13. Bonriki Primary Football Club
14. Temanoku Primary Football Club
15. Betio Primary Football Club
16. Bikenibeu JSS Football Club

Island Councils Football Clubs
1. Makin Football Club
2. Abemama Football Club
3. Butaritari Football Club
4. Nonouti Football Club
5. Marakei Football Club
6. Tabiteuea North Football Club
7. Abaiang Football Club
8. Tabiteuea South Football Club
9. North Tarawa Football Club
10. Onotoa Football Club
11. TUC Football Club
12. Beru Football Club
13. BTC Football Club
14. Nikunau Football Club
15. Maiana Football Club
16. Tamana Football Club
17. Kuria Football Club
18. Arorae Football Club
19. Aranuka Football Club
20. Kiritimati Football Club

Altogether there are 59 registered clubs of KIFA. There are no professional clubs.

8. Details of National Competition Structure
KIFA has a national competition, normally held every year since 1984 but has since 2000 been held every two years. From 1984 to 2004, the national championships have been conducted on an open category basis with all the different age groups competing in one open category. As can be seen in the 3 year plan (attached as Annex 1-8) for KIFA, a separate national football championship for the Under 18 will be conducted next year 2005. The aim of this is to promote the game of soccer to those 18 olds and under so as to enhance future development of the game. Attached as Annex 1-2 and 1-3 are confirmations from the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports and the Kiribati National Olympic Committee both responsible for sport in the country that KIFA organizes and supervises football in the country.

The government has been providing financial assistance towards hosting of these national competitions due to the fact that costs involved are excessive and KIFA cannot meet these costs. With all the costs met by government, this has led the government to regulate the conduct of national tournaments through promulgation of a Kiribati Sports Authority Act in 2000. KIFA believes that if it becomes a member of OFC and FIFA, government will ultimately allow it to run its affairs independently.

Since the islands are scattered it is very hard to conduct national tournaments. It is for this reason that football tournaments outside the national football tournament which is once every 2 years, KIFA organized football tournaments for Tarawa, the capital (TUC) and Betio (BTC), a highly populated islet on Tarawa where as those on the outer islands are organized by the Island Council Clubs. KIFA organizes football tournaments such as the `Tarawa Cup' football tournament, the Independence Celebrations football tournament and other major tournaments. These are usually supported by donations from NGOs and the business communities because KIFA does not have the necessary financial resources.

9. Number of playing venues in Kiribati
After the referee workshops and coaching clinics on the capital island (TUC and BTC) and on all the outer islands in the 1980s, the number of playing venues was increased according to the need requested by the Island Councils. The table below shows the number of fields on each island plus the standard football pitch measured according to the Laws of the Game.

ISLANDS No. of Football Pitch National Size
Makin 1 0
Abemama 5 2
Butaritari 7 2
Nonouti 5 2
Marakei 4 2
Tabiteuea North 6 2
Abaiang 7 2
Tabiteuea South 4 1
North Tarawa 4 2
Onotoa 3 1
TUC 6 2
Beru 4 2
BTC 2 1
Nikunau 3 1
Maiana 5 1
Tamana 2 1
Kuria 1 1
Arorae 3 2
Aranuka 2 1
Kiritimati 4 2

10. Main Playing Venues
KIFA has one national stadium called `Reuben K Uatioa (RKU) Stadium and this is the only venue where international matches can be held. There is another one still under construction and is expected to be completed sometime in April 2006. The RKU stadium has a grand stand located on the side and it can accommodate more than 3,000 people. The grass surrounding the pitch can also accommodate an additional 3,000 people. The grand stand has a roof to provide shelter for the audience from the hot sun and the rain. There are no floodlights situated at the side of the roof for players to play in the evening but there are plan to have these put in place. The competition pitch inside the grand stand is in conformity with the Laws of the Game.

The RKU stadium is located in the area where there are some motels, 3 to 5 minutes walking distance. Other hotels and motels are 10 to 30 minutes drive to the stadium. Big stores and local markets are a walking distance away should snacks and drinks be required. Some restaurants are close by for people to buy lunches. The International Airport is only 45 minutes drive away. There are some classrooms located about 10 minutes walk away and these could be used as possible accommodation during school break should the need arise.

A motel of 15 minutes walk away from the stadium can accommodate 20 guests and a bigger one of 30 minutes away can accommodate about 300 guests. There are bus services that operate regularly between these hotels and the stadium from morning at 6 am and close at about 10 pm. There are also taxi services and trucks on hire available at all times should they be needed.

The ANZ Bank is only a few minutes walking distance away.

11. Registered Referees
The following are registered referees under KIFA:
Women - 1
Men - 50 certificated with 20 on training

The constitution of the Association, the 3 year plan and other news of the Association can be seen on the KIFA's website (select Football and then select Kiribati). KIFA provides training to new referees and refresher courses to existing referees at least once a year. The training involves the teaching of the Laws of the Game to all referees.

12. Coaches
There are no officially recognized coaches who have undergone training overseas but coaches are recruited from abroad to train the national team for international competitions like the South Pacific Games and other games. KIFA is now planning to conduct training to interested coaches so that the knowledge in football is further developed. These coaches will be recognized by KIFA based on their performance.

13. Declarations
A declaration that KIFA will -
(i) comply fully with the Statutes, regulations, provisions and decisions of FIFA at all times,
(ii) respect the Laws of the Game at all times,

are contained in KIFA's statutes, a copy attached as Annex 1-5.

14. Legal structure of the country
Engagement in all kinds of sports is free and encouraged by government at all levels. The relevant legislations, namely the Kiribati Sport Authority Act 1999, which is the national sports legislation currently applicable in Kiribati and the Incorporated Societies Act 2002, which is the national legislation governing the freedom or autonomy of associations are attached as Annexes 1-6 and 1-7 respectively.

15. Contact Address:
1. Ioteba Redfern
Kiribati Islands Football Association
Betio, Tarawa
Phone: (686) 26018


2. Johnny Kulene
Ambo, Tarawa

Republic of Kiribati


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