During the European Football Cup 2015 the Executive Committee of CONIFA sat together to recap the preparations for the tournament and to decide on the next steps towards a bright future. After some silence following the tournament we now want to publish our views on the visa refusals to two of our honorable members, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and in the same time we want to look with you on all the amazing things that await us in 2016!
We would like to start with the most negatively touching experience we had to make since the foundation of CONIFA, which was the denial of the Hungarian authorities, in particular the Hungarian embassy in Moscow, to ignore the visa requests of our members from Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The whole Executive Committee still feels devastated looking to the unwanted political message and side-not this added to our tournament. From day 1 one of CONIFA’s main values is neutrality and the pure work for people, not for political ideas or opinions. Nevertheless the Hungarian authorities made us a victim of political and diplomatic strategies and unfortunately we could not avoid in time, even though we joined all forces to do so.
The main point that left us speechless about the fact that the visa applications have been ignored is that no reason was given at any time, while it was approved that all formalities are correct and despite their earlier Schengen visa for the CONIFA World Football Cup 2014. This gives us and the Abkhaz and South Ossetian delegations the bitter feeling that visas have been declined only on the basis that the delegates were Abkhaz or South Ossetians. This would surely contradict paragraph 13, the freedom of movement, of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was signed by Hungary on 25.03.1969.
To express our shock and, most important, to reach a full investigation on the matter, we wrote an open letter to the embassy of Hungary in Moscow with copies being sent to the Hungarian Foreign Ministry, the European Union, the United Nations, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and media all over the world. We hope to achieve a full investigation and reasoning on the case, which hopefully leads to the fact that we will never again have to face such problems.
In addition the letter is published here to give everyone a chance to follow our doings and get their own impressions:
- Read the Open Letter [PDF]
During the same meeting in Debrecen we luckily also had the time to speak about the future of CONIFA, especially about our doings in 2016.
Today we can happily and proudly announce that the host of the 2016 World Football Cup will be Abkhazia!
The formal bid Abkhazia filed convinced every single member of the Executive Committee, which led to an unanimous decision to grant the beautiful country at the Black Sea Cost the hosting rights.
As Abkhazia is a member of CONIFA from nearly the beginning and is quickly growing their Football Federation with more and more friendly matches taking place in Abkhazia and its capital city Sukhum we are sure that Abkhazia is a perfect choice to enjoy a perfect football and cultural experience.
Surely all our members that will make the travel will never forget the beauty of the country and its people.
Even though our decision was solely based on the perfect bid, which shows a top-class infrastructure and enthusiasm of a whole country, we are also delighted to send out the signal that we fully stand behind all our members and that we especially appreciate a well-running Football Federation with high aspirations.
The next important step now is to send a delegation of CONIFA to Abkhazia to negotiate all the little and big details about the upcoming tournament and to put pen on paper to secure all the arrangements.
As soon as the official invitation to Abkhazia and the meetings with the local authorities and Football Federations is received our president will have the pleasure to travel to Sukhum. From that day on we all will work 24/7 to highlight Abkhazia on the world map as a touristic paradise, as a sport event host and last but not least as the peaceful and lovely society it is today.
We are all very much looking forward to Abkhazia and a fantastic event and to make your mouth water as well we can only recommend to watch the following video to see how the lately-finished national stadium in Sukhum looks now as it is finished: