A different football World Cup - for unrecognised nations

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A different football world cup - for unrecognized nations

In June 2018, the alternative ‘World Football Cup’ of linguistic minorities and unrecognized nations, (organized by CONIFA) will be in London. Alessio Perrone reports


An fan from Abkhazia at the 2016 CONIFA world cup. Photo: Magdalena Chodownik.

Football teams like Tibet, Matabeleland and Northern Cyprus are getting ready to play each other next year. But not in the official World Cup in Russia.

The 16 teams are not allowed to play ‘official’ international football, so they are playing in an alternative world cup between unrecognized nations and minorities in London in May 2018.

The Confederation of Independent Football Associations (CONIFA) want people to play for the identity they feel represents them.

The teams want to win the football. But many also have a political message. United Koreans in Japan – a team of South and North Koreans – will show that it is possible for the Korean peninsula to play together; the team from the self-governing region of Abkhazia will say they want independence from Georgia.

The players of Kiribati, a country of small islands in the Pacific Ocean, are living examples of the threat of global warming. Kiribati will be one of the first countries in the world to disappear when sea levels rise, so these players could be the last generation to play for the country.

‘This is football that means something,’ says Watson, from CONIFA. ‘Footballers at the World Cup in Russia don’t care about their team as much as these players.’

The CONIFA alternative World Cup will be in London stadiums between 30 May and 10 June 2018. Tickets will cost £10.

NOW READ THE ORIGINAL: https://newint.org/sections/agenda/2017/12/01/CONIFA-world-cup-london

(This article has been simplified so the words, text structure and quotes may have been changed).