ON THE WEB, 8 September 2017
The Confederation of Independent Football Associations has announced that its 2018 World Football Cup will be held in London — with teams from the world’s five major continents all competing for the first time.
CONIFA is a volunteer-led international football confederation for teams not part of FIFA, with members including states, partially-recognised states, regions, minority groups and sports-isolated territories.
Reigning champions Abkhazia — an autonomous region south of Russia and north-west of Georgia — return to defend the crown they won in Sweden in 2016, with Cascadia and Kiribati have each qualified for the tournament for the first time as the sole representatives of North America and Oceania respectively.
Tibet, whose honorary president is His Holiness the Dalai Lama, also make their first appearance in the tournament after receiving a wildcard.
“We are thrilled to be taking CONIFA to England — the spiritual home of football,” said CONIFA President Per-Anders Blind. “The World Football Cup just gets bigger and bigger. After hosting our inaugural tournament in Sweden in 2014, we reached new heights in Abkhazia last year with an event that received media coverage on every inhabited continent.
“We are confident 2018 will be our best tournament yet, and London will be the perfect host.”
The organisation’s General Secretary Sascha Düerkop added: “For the first time in our history, we will have a team representing each continent with CONIFA members: Africa, Asia, Europe, North America and Oceania. We are particularly proud that the 2018 World Football Cup will be such an international spectacle, and provide a platform for our members to showcase they cultures, histories and footballing ability.”
The full list of competing teams is as follows.
Africa: Barawa, Matabeleland, Kabylia.
Asia: Tibet, Tamil Eelam, United Koreans of Japan, Panjab.
Europe: Abkhazia, Padania, Northern Cyprus, Western Armenia, Ellan Vannin (Isle of Man), Felvidek, Székely Land.
North America: Cascadia.