ConIFA World Football Cup 2018
There is a World Cup taking place in England this summer, without a complimentary Rolex changing hands or a generous donation to an offshore bank account in sight. The Confederation of Independent Football Associations is the governing body for non-FIFA-affiliated Associations – allowing diasporas, ethnic groups, regions and stateless peoples to take part in international football competition. As the nature of the member bodies means it is not always possible for the tournament to be held in their home ‘territory’, the biennial ConIFA World Football Cup’s designated host is the association that heads the organising committee.
Officially hosted by Barawa, representing the Somali diaspora, the 2018 ConIFA World Football Cup begins on 31 May, played at ten venues in and around Greater London. The 16 participants include holders Abkhazia and Ellan Vannin, the Isle of Man’s representative side, though the tournament has come too soon for the recently-formed Yorkshire International Football Association (YIFA). The final is on 9 June. The competition even has its own official anthem, performed by one-time UK chart-toppers Right Said Fred, and this year’s edition sees the introduction of a ‘green card’, to be issued for dissent or diving, requiring the offending player to be substituted immediately.
The book and blog Outcasts! The Lands that FIFA Forgot by Steve Menary contains a wealth of further information on the subject of international football’s parallel world.