Vanuatu and PNG to feature in new FIFA Series pilot project

Tuesday, 27 February 2024, 6:41 pm

Vanuatu and PNG set to be the first Oceania region countries to pilot a new FIFA series project (Supplied: OFC Media via Phototek)

Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea have been invited to play in the new FIFA Series pilot project next month. This initiative provides for a series of inter-confederation friendlies, to be played in a single host nation during international windows.

This will provide nations with more regular opportunities to play international matches against sides outside of their confederation, with a view to increasing development opportunities previously unavailable.

Ahead of the full roll-out in March 2026, the pilot project will run from 18 to 26 March 2024. The forthcoming edition of the FIFA Series will feature national teams from all six confederations, and future instalments are planned during every March international match window of even years.

“The FIFA Series is a really positive step forward for national-team football at global level,” said FIFA President Gianni Infantino.

“Our member associations have been telling us for a long time now of their desire to test themselves against their counterparts from all around the world, and now they can do so within the current Men’s International Match Calendar.

“More meaningful matches will enable far more valuable footballing interaction for players, teams and fans, and will make a concrete contribution to the development of the game.”

Vanuatu, ranked 170 in the FIFA rankings, will compete in a series in Saudi Arabia with Bermuda (171, Concacaf), Brunei Darussalam (194, AFC) and Guinea (76, CAF).

Papua New Guinea, ranked 165, will play in a series with hosts Sri Lanka (204, AFC), Bhutan (184, AFC) and Central African Republic (129, CAF)