After almost a month off Non-FIFA Football Updates is back for 2014. Apologies for the lack of updates –sometimes real life can take over! In this first post of the year we’ll sum up the events of the last few weeks, of which there have been many, below. We hope to go back to normal from now on and have updated our fixtures and results sections. Finally, if you think you could contribute to the blog then please get in touch via the contacts on the right hand side of the site.
FIFA allow Kosovo to play friendlies
On January 13th a FIFA Emergency Committee confirmed a set of regulations which allow the Kosovo national team to play member nations in friendlies.
Meetings between the Football Association of Serbia (FSS) and the Football Federation of Kosovo (FFK) had been on-going for 2 years via FIFA. A set of regulations were drawn up which allowed Kosovar clubs and representative teams to play internationals.
The regulations state that representative teams of the FFK may not display national symbols (flags, emblems etc) or play national anthems. However, they are allowed to wear or display kit or equipment bearing the name 'Kosovo' as well as the symbol of a star of the size of the letter 'o' in the name 'Kosovo'.
Also, matches against teams from or representing countries of the former Yugoslavia are not allowed and any games to be played in Kosovo must be approved by FIFA and the FSS with advanced warning.
Sepp Blatter descried the agreement as a “major boost” and the FFK are expected to play during the next international break in March. It is still unclear whether players such as Xherdan Shaqiri and Valon Behrami will play – we drew up a potential Kosovo team in November.
Following the agreement FIFA received a request from the Republica Srpska football association to play against Serbia in friendlies. Although the Football Association of Bosnia and Herzegovina officially declared it has no objection FIFA did not act.
OFC hit back at claims of Tuvalu neglect
In December the Oceania Football Confederation declared their support for Tuvalu after claims from Dutch Support Tuvalu Foundation worker Paul Driessen that there was a lack of help and communication.
OFC General Secretary Tai Nicholas says his organisation is doing everything it can to help Tuvalu and that the lack of infrastructure in the country is the main problem.
Tuvalu's campaign to join FIFA has been backed for the last four years by a group of sympathisers from the Netherlands, including Driessen, who co-ordinated a recent tour of Europe.
Following Driessen’s claims Nicholas hit back saying "It's very disappointing that he makes these comments in the media when he knows full well what the requirements are”.
He went on to explain that the OFC “provide financial grants to them every year, provide technical courses, footballs, coaching courses”. The main problem according to Nicholas was the lack of hotel and stadium, as well as a lack of formal application to FIFA.
Comfortable festive victories for Spanish autonomous regions
In the 2 games we missed during the Christmas period Catalonia and the Basque Country both won comfortably against FIFA opposition.
With a team containing Barcelona stars Gerard Piqué and Cesc Fàbregas the Catalans saw off Cape Verde 4-1 in Barcelona despite going 1-0 down to a 10th minute Djaniny goal.
|Comfy...Catalonia ran out 4-1 winners|
However a remarkable 3 goals in 4 first-half minutes from Espanyol forward Sergio García (2) and Bojan Bojan Krkić meant that the non-FIFA side led at the break. After a raft of substitutes in the second period Osasuna striker Oriol Riera made it 4 on his Catalonia debut.
At the new San Mamés in Bilbao an accomplished Basque Country performance saw them thrash Peru 6-0, 12 months after racking up the same amount of goals against Bolivia.
A weakened Peruvian side went behind to a first-half brace from Aritz Aduriz, his 8th and 9th goals for the non-FIFA team, and a Roberto Torres goal before the break.
In the second half Real Sociedad’s Imanol Agirretxe netted twice before Markel Susaeta capped off the victory in the 80th minute.
French Football Federation cancel Coupe de l’Outre-Mer
After 3 editions the Coupe de l’Outre-Mer, for French overseas territories, has been cancelled by the French Football Federation.
The biennial competition was held for the first time in 2008 and was last won by Réunion in 2012. The event also saw Saint Pierre & Miquelon compete internationally for the first time and it is hard to see them on the world stage again.
After Tahiti’s journey to the Confederations Cup and recent strong performances by Guadeloupe and Martinique in CONCACAF competitions the cancellation will come as a disappointment to the 8 association who competed. Despite the frustration a potential June friendly between French Guiana and Réunion has been mooted.
New non-FIFA governing body announces first tournament
New non-FIFA governing body ConIFA have announced a big line-up for their maiden competition, the World Football Cup, to be held in Sweden this summer.
|New order..ConIFA have big plans for 2014|
The Southern Sami city of Östersund will host the event with no fewer than 12 teams, beating the N.F.-Board’s largest VIVA World Cup tally of 9, competing. Hosts Sápmi, who haven’t played for 2 years, are part of a line-up that includes a mix of former VIVA World Cup participants and new non-FIFA teams.
3 time VIVA World Cup winners Padania and 2012 champions Kurdistan will play in Sweden along with Zanzibar, Quebec, Darfur, Abkhazia, Nagorno-Karabakh, Tamil Eelam, Aramean Suryoye, Occitania and a new Manx team called Ellan Vallin.
The competition will take place one week before the FIFA World Cup from June 1st-9th with the draw set to take place in the next few weeks. Should all teams feature in Östersund then the finals have the potential to be the most successful non-FIFA event to date.
The N.F.-Board is yet to announce the venue for their 2014 VIVA World Cup which now looks increasingly unlikely to happen. The organisations have been at loggerheads ever since former members of the N.F.-Board left to set up ConIFA last year.