1 Jun 2015

Sport: Olympic pathway set out for Oceania football teams

11:30 am on 1 June 2015

The Road to next year's Rio Olympics is now clearer for Oceania's top men's and women's football teams, following the release of the match schedule for the upcoming qualifiers in Papua New Guinea.

Both men's and women's events will form part of the Pacific Games in Port Moresby in July, with all matches to be played out at Bisini Sports Complex.

In the men's event eight teams have been confirmed to take part, five of them IOC Member Associations: Fiji, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.

Three more non-IOC Member Associations will also be vying for the Pacific Games gold medal: New Caledonia, Tahiti and Federated States of Micronesia, with both competitions to run concurrently.

The eight teams will be drawn into two groups of four teams with the top two IOC members from each group set to progress to the semi-finals, and the eventual winner to represent Oceania in Brazil.

The format to find the winners of the Gold, Silver and Bronze medal winners for the Pacific Games will use the same group match competition as the Olympic Qualifier, but it will be the top two Pacific Games Association members from each group who will qualify for the semi-finals.

The Pacific Games Women's Football Tournament will double as Stage 1 of the OFC Olympic Qualifier with seven teams set to participate.

New Zealand and Papua New Guinea square off in the Olympic qualifying play-off in 2012.

New Zealand and Papua New Guinea square off in the Olympic qualifying play-off in 2012. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

IOC Member Associations Cook Islands, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands and Tonga are all taking part, with New Caledonia the only non-IOC Member Association participating.

A group of four teams and another of three teams will play a round robin, with the winner and runner-up of each group qualifying for the semi-finals.

The highest ranked IOC Member Association will qualify for Stage 2 - a home-and-away play-off against New Zealand in October - from which the Olympic representative will be found.