World champions Abkhazia and continental champions Padania will be among the teams contesting the 2017 Confederation of Independent Football Associations (CONIFA) European Football Cup, to be held in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus from 4-11 June.
Following a recent vote by member associations, CONIFA announced that Abkhazia, Sapmi, County of Nice, Karpatalya, Ellan Vannin (Isle of Man) and Székely Land would join hosts Northern Cyprus and automatic qualifiers Padania at the tournament.
“The 2017 European Football Cup will bring together some of our best teams for what promises to be an exciting week of competition,” said CONIFA President Per-Anders Blind. “We are grateful to the Kıbrıs Türk Futbol Federasyonu (KTFF), the governing body of football in Northern Cyprus, for their organisational efforts to date. The CONIFA family is looking forward to our visit in June!”
Northern Cyprus is a self-declared state in the north-eastern portion of Cyprus, popular with tourists due to its climate, beaches and history. Northern Cyprus proclaimed independence in 1983 and is recognised by Turkey.
“Northern Cyprus has a proud football history,” explained KTFF representative Orcun Kamali. “We have a strong semi-professional league on the island, and our national team finished third in the last CONIFA tournament. The decision to host the 2017 European Football Cup was an easy one.”
CONIFA is looking to build on a tremendously successful World Football Cup in 2016, which saw home-side Abkhazia lift the trophy following a thrilling final against Panjab. Over 100 accredited foreign journalists covered the tournament, while millions of people around the world engaged with CONIFA through social media during the event.
“Last year’s championship in Abkhazia was undoubtedly our biggest and best yet,” CONIFA General Secretary Sascha Düerkop said. “We are hoping to maintain that momentum with a successful tournament in Northern Cyprus, as we look towards another World Football Cup in 2018.”
CONIFA is an international football federation for teams outside of FIFA, with members including states, de facto states, regions, minority groups and sports-isolated territories. CONIFA is a non-profit organisation registered in Sweden.
- Read more about CONIFA’s European Football Cup 2017