VFF requests the PM to launch national support

A meeting was held at the Prime Minister's Office in Port Vila this morning between VFF officials and the First Political Advisor to the Prime Minister Edward Natapei, Mr. Andrew Kausiama.

Representing VFF were the President Johnny Tinsley Lulu, the Chief Executive Officer Jimmy Nipo, and the Technical Director/National Coach Carlos Buzzetti. The Member of Parliament for Tongoa and President of Shefa Football Association was also present at the meeting on invitation by the VFF President.

Mr. Lulu gave an account of the system imposed by OFC to merge the World Cup qualifying and the Nations Cup tournaments into one tournament, and how the tournament will be played in two stages forcing island teams to spend a lot of money to travel to the venues, while Australia and New Zealand stay home and wait for the second stage which will be played in Australia in June. Mr. Lulu made it clear that VFF is opposed to the system because of the financial implications, especially on the island teams like Vanuatu.

VFF CEO Mr. Nipo informed the government of the annual 10 million vatu budget that the federation allocates from participation in international competitions, and how the 7 - 8 million vatu trip to the first stage of the tournament in Samoa already exceeds the capability of VFF. Mr. Nip points out that the second stage in Australia would require a further 7 million vatu.

Technical Director/National Coach Carlos spoke of the negative impact Vanuatu's non participation would have on the reputation and achievements that the country has achieved over the past four years. He pointed out the recognition by FIFA on Vanuatu being the most progressive developing football country in Oceania, and the third place ranking given to Vanuatu by the Australian national coach and carried on international media.

After all the explanations, Mr. Nipo explained that VFF would need the Prime Minister to make a formal launching of a national fundraising campaign on Television Blong Vanuatu, toward Vanuatu's participation in the World Cup qualifying tournament.

Mr. Kausiama assured VFF that the Prime Minister was willing to assist VFF in making a national appeal for support for the Vanuatu senior team.
Mr. Kausiam assured that the PM's office would liase with VBTC and VFF on setting a time for the Prime Minister's address on the matter to the nation.

The meeting also explored other means and venues where funds could be secured to send national teams for international participation in all sports.
Mr. Kausiam explained that the government was not in a position to discus finances, but he assured that there will be assistance in encouraging support from all sectors.

Mr. Nipo said VFF would need the official launching by the prime minister to back their efforts in raising enough money to send the Vanuatu team to Samoa in May.

"After all these boys go to represent the whole country, not the VFF or any individual... we strongly believe that it is time everyone in the society, including the business houses join in with those already in partnership with sports, to come out and be part of the fundraising effort", Mr. Nipo said.



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