CONIFA World Football Cup

by | May 16, 2018 | Chris Tuck, News, Other Soccer, World Cup Soccer |

Summer 2018, a huge football tournament and the world is getting excited!  Tickets being purchased, fans chatting animatedly on twitter and stadiums being spruced up in time to welcome guests from around the world.  Welcome to the CONIFA World Football Cup in London, UK. Apparently Russia have something going on this summer too…

Here in London, CONIFA (the Confederation of Independent Football Associations) will hold its 3rd World Cup. Barawa won the right to host the tournament, their FA represent part of the worldwide Somali diaspora in England announcing London as their preferred tournament location.  Betting giant Paddy Power are the tournament’s title sponsor.

In keeping with the ‘underdog’ ethos, the tournament has not looked to Wembley, the Emirates, or Stamford Bridge to host the matches. Instead it puts some excellent non-league stadiums into the limelight.  The stadiums chosen to host matches are:

Gander Green Lane (Sutton United FC)

Queen Elizabeth II Stadium (Enfield Town FC)

Coles Park Stadium (Haringey Borough FC)

Colston Avenue Football Stadium (Carshalton Athletic FC)

Arbour Park (Slough Town FC)

Hayes Lane (Bromley FC)

Larges Lane (Bracknell Town FC)

St Paul’s Sports Ground (Fisher FC)

Bedfont Recreation Ground (Bedfont Sports FC)

Parkside (Aveley FC)

As you can tell this is a world cup with a difference.  CONIFA describe themselves as:

“We’re a global acting non-profit organization that supports representatives of international football teams from nations, de-facto nations, regions, minority peoples and sports isolated territories.”

Their main objective is stated as:

“CONIFA aims to build bridges between people, nations, minorities and isolated regions all over the world through friendship, culture and the joy of playing football. CONIFA works for the development of affiliated members and is committed to fair play and the eradication of racism.”

We spoke to Mat Guy, Southampton-based author and football fan who has a passion for the tournament and the people it represents. He said

“CONIFA is important because it gives a voice to those without one. It offers to those who have sometimes fallen between political cracks to represent their identity or region on the football field. It is the only sporting body that looks beyond politics or UN/FIFA sanctions, and sees that this simple game is meant for all.”

About the stadiums being used Mat went on “it is great to see the non-league community embracing this tournament. There are some wonderful grounds hosting games, and it will be a true football festival.”

The draw was made at the CONIFA Annual General Meeting in Northern Cyprus and is as follows:

Group 1: Barawa, Ellan Vannin, Tamil Eelam, Cascadia

Group 2: Abkhazia, Northern Cyprus, Felvidek, Tibet

Group 3: Padania, Székely Land, Kiribati, Matabeleland

Group 4: Panjab, United Koreans in Japan, Western Armenia, Kabylia

Stadium Journey will have a correspondent reporting from the tournament, keep an eye out for updates on @StadiumJ_Europe and @CONIFAOfficial

The tournament begins on Thursday 31 May and concludes with the final and closing ceremony on Saturday 9 June.  Five days later ‘the other’ tournament starts in Moscow…

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