CONIFA Paddy Power World Football Cup 2018: What the Fans Thought

Written by Pat McGuinness – Twitter: @patsfballblog

The CONIFA Paddy Power World Football Cup 2018 is now a happy memory – but it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for the thousands of people who came to watch the tournament’s 16 teams battle for the Cup over 48 matches.

People from across the globe came to 10 venues in and around London to watch the tournament: football fans – supporters of non-league clubs, and groundhoppers, were very much in evidence – as well as Hungarians living in south-east England who followed Szekely Land and Karpatalya from start to finish; plus, the politically motivated who had gone to games to lend their support to Tibet, for example; and the curious, who had come along just to see what all the fuss was about.

Two of that number were Darren and Matthew, who had travelled down from Manchester to watch both the final and the Bronze match. Speaking during the Bronze match between Szekely Land and Padania, Darren said: “I’ve been following the tournament online and came down from Manchester to watch the final. I saw this on a website and I thought it would be a good opportunity to see a bit of different football. I’ve been following it online, it seems really competitive and the standard of football I’ve seen today has been better than I expected. I want Karpatalya to win tonight, but I think Northern Cyprus will smash it; they’ve got a really good centre forward.”

Matthew continued: “We go and watch Welsh league football and this is a far better standard than that. I’ve been surprised by the standard actually, it’s a really good. Northern Cyprus have been playing really well; their domestic league is quality, and I think they’ll win the final.”

Peter and Roger were another pair of supporters who had come along to watch the two matches at Enfield, and Peter kept his comments short and sweet: “The tournament seems to have been very well organised and the games are competitive; I’ve really enjoyed it, even though this (Szekely Land v Padania) is only the second game I’ve been to.”

Roger: “It’s a wonderful tournament; I only hope that there’ll be more tournaments in England. It must be very difficult in other countries to organise. You’ve got a real ethnically diverse population here, people from everywhere, so I’m hoping the next tournament will be here as well. It’s lovely. You’ve got a team here representing Tibet playing football, that’s quite incredible. But here today, you’ve got Szekely Land playing Padania; that’s more like football as we know it, a bit more cut-and-thrust.

“I’ve been to Aveley and Fisher as well as here; the crowds have been quite good. It’s in the middle of summer as well; it wouldn’t be much good in December, it wouldn’t quite draw the crowds. But it’s been brilliant. I just wish I’d gone to a few more games.”

Marlow season-ticket holder Gordon, who was watching his ninth match of the tournament, said that he had seen the tournament advertised and, as a non-league football supporter, “thought it would be [his] sort of thing.”

“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it; I’ve only been to eight games. I’ve enjoyed watching the teams that haven’t been competitive; they’re playing for their countries, and it shows. It’s been excellent. Playing on 4G pitches has helped. The two semi-finals were absolutely excellent games, and they were competitive, very competitive. I’ve been very surprised by the standard as I didn’t know any of the teams. I’ve really enjoyed it. The size of the crowd has surprised me; I’m happy that I’d bought my ticket for both the third-place game and the final when I came in today.”

Dave Barnett, who has been following non-league football for a number of years, was also attending his ninth World Football Cup fixture and, like Gordon, was pleasantly surprised by the size of the crowd at the final between Karpatalya and Northern Cyprus. “I saw this tournament advertised in the Non-League Paper. I’ve been to five or six different venues, all very friendly; it’s very well-organised as it seems to be a new set-up and I’ve been very pleased with it. I’ve been very surprised by the size of the crowd today, there’s a lot of local interest [thanks in part to the large Turkish ex-pat population, who lent their support to Northern Cyprus]. I’m very pleased with it, but the final’s not living up to its billing; it’s a typical final with too much to lose.

“I’ve also enjoyed the naivety of the tournament, which has been nice, it’s been a joy to watch at times. I’m not so sure about the green card, I don’t think a lot of people understand what it’s all about, including the players. One of the players got one this morning, didn’t know what it was for and ended up getting a red card [for dissent]. But, it’s all new, and it’s a good start for it.

“I was very impressed with the United Koreans in Japan; they couldn’t score, but they were a very good side. The football’s been of a high standard; not knowing any of the countries participating, the tournament’s been of a very good standard.”

Phil Bailey had clocked up 14 games at the CONIFA World Football Cup before the final kicked off and was another spectator who alluded to the comparative lack of publicity for the tournament, and, like several others, to Ellan Vannin’s withdrawal from the tournament after the group stages.

“It’s been really good. I’ve really enjoyed the tournament, I’m surprised that there have been so many people going to the games. There’s been a couple of 8-0s, so I’ve seen plenty of goals, so it’s been good. The best game I’ve been to was the first semi-final [between Padania and Northern Cyprus], it was really quite exciting. It would be nice to know where the next one is.”

CONIFA is still a very young organisation, having been founded only in 2013, so it is only natural that it suffers growing pains, and that it continues to do so from time to time. Many lessons will be learned from the 2018 World Football Cup. But, it is heartening to know that the feedback from the majority of spectators who attended matches was generally positive, and hopefully many of those who passed through the turnstiles at this year’s World Football Cup venues will follow future tournaments, wherever they may take place.

Pat McGuinness

#WFC2018 Match-Day 2: Referees

The Confederation of Independent Football Associations (CONIFA) would like to express its immense gratitude to the referees officiating the 2018 Paddy Power World Football Cup. The following referees are in charge during Saturday’s matches.

2pm, Queen Elizabeth II Stadium (Enfield Town FC): Abkhazia v Karpatalya (Group B)

Dmitrii Zhukov: Referee
Vitalii Mazin: A1
Valerii Kravchenko: A2
Aleksandr Demenko: 4th

5pm, Queen Elizabeth II Stadium (Enfield Town FC): Northern Cyprus v Tibet (Group B)

John McCallum: Referee
Andrew Mario Parody: A1
Denis Perez: A2
David Murphy: 4th

5pm, Colston Avenue Football Stadium (Carshalton Athletic FC): Ellan Vannin v Tamil Eelam (Group A)

Guastafierro Mario: Referee
Esposito Pasquale: A1
Sasso Mariano: A2
Amitrano Massimo: 4th

5pm, Arbour Park (Slough Town FC): Panjab v Western Armenia (Group D)

Kristian Michel: Referee
Tomaž Pirman: A1
Ollie Potter: A2
Givi Todua: 4th

5pm: Coles Park Stadium (Haringey Borough FC): Padania v Tuvalu (Group C)

Raymond Mashamba: Referee
René Jacobi: A1
Martin Rauh: A2
Dennis Wall: 4th

2pm, Colston Avenue Football Stadium (Carshalton Athletic FC): Barawa v Cascadia (Group A)

Utku Hamamcioglu: Referee
Isfendiyar Aciksoz: A1
Zekai Tore: A2
Fehim Dayi: 4th

2pm: Coles Park Stadium (Haringey Borough FC): Székely Land v Matabeleland (Group C)

Igor Gorshkov: Referee
Karl Parker: A1
Roger Lundbäck: A2
Clément Auclair: 4th

2pm, Larges Lane (Bracknell Town FC): United Koreans in Japan v Kabylia (Group D)

Leon Dastych: Referee
Martin Heiland: A1
Wilhelm Gürtler: A2
Ivan Mrkalj: 4th

WFC2018 Interview – Gergo Gyurki (Kárpátalya)

Written by Pat McGuinness – Twitter: @patsfballblog

One of the least-heralded teams to take part in this year’s World Football Cup, the Ukrainian region of Kárpátalya surprised a great many people by winning the tournament! One of the players who played a big part in Kárpátalya’s triumph is Gergo Gyurki, who plays his club football in Hungary for second-level side Soproni VSE.

In an interview ahead of the quarter-finals, he gave his view on the team’s tournament so far. “I think we played well in our first match against Northern Cyprus [their eventual opponents in the final]; it was a hard game because the game was very physical; we prefer a more technical game. So, it was hard for us but we missed a lot of chances, so we drew.

“Our second match was played against Abkhazia; we played well and won 2-0, and our last opponents were Tibet. Again, we played well, we enjoyed playing and we won 5-0.”

Many people were surprised that Kárpátalya progressed at Abkhazia’s expense, but Gyurki wasn’t one of them: “A lot of players in our team play in the top division in Hungary, such as Roland Takacs, Istvan Sandor, Gyorgy Sandor, and other players play together for the same club, so for us, the result wasn’t a surprise as our strength is playing as a team. The most important thing for us is to play together and fight together as a team.”

As the team which finished third in CONIFA’s World Football Cup European qualification list, Kárpátalya were listed as the European region’s first reserve team should another side scratch from the competition, and were awarded a place at this year’s World Football Cup when Felvidek withdrew at the beginning of May. It left the team with little time to prepare, but the players were helped by player-manager István Sándor.

“We had just a few training sessions before the tournament, but the manager spoke to us a lot before the tournament started, and that was a very big help for us [with regard to the team’s tactics]. That was very important.”

A quarter-final clash with Cascadia awaited the Kárpátalyans, and Gyurki had this to say about what was to come: “It will be the same sort of game as against Northern Cyprus because Cascadia will be very physical. We try to keep the ball on the floor and we try to play combination football. I hope we will have a successful match.”

What does it mean to Gyurki to play for the team representing Kárpátalya’s large Hungarian minority? “It’s a great feeling as we are a Hungarian team, like Szekely Land. It’s good meeting other Hungarian players, and it’s good to be here and playing for Kárpátalya. It’s a very good thing… We try to play from our hearts.”

What of the future for the team; will they perhaps qualify for the next European Championship or the next World Football Cup? After all, they have greatly impressed, not to mention surprised, fans and pundits alike with their attractive football, but Gyurki is keeping his feet on the ground and his focus purely on the next game against Cascadia.

“Maybe [we will qualify for both competitions], but we still have to play three more matches here and we have to go step by step and try to play better and better. Maybe we have a chance to get to the final, but for now we have to concentrate on the next step.”

Kárpátalya won the CONIFA Paddy Power World Football Cup on penalties against Northern Cyprus.

Pat McGuinness

WFC2018 Interview – James Nicholls (Cascadia)

Written by Pat McGuinness – Twitter: @patsfballblog

Cascadia were not reckoned to be among the front-runners for this year’s World Football Cup as they had not played a game prior to the tournament – but they put everyone on notice with two impressive wins in Group A to qualify for the quarter-finals, thrashing Tamil Eelam 6-0 to knock Ellan Vannin, one of the pre-tournament favourites, out of the competition.

Manager James Nicholls was a happy man when CONIFA caught up with him on ahead of the quarter finals, and had this to say about the game against Tamil Eelam: “We were really dominant, especially in the first half, we went 2-0 up at half-time. We were unsure what to tell the players during the break, but we decided that the best thing to do was to go for the six goals. We could have been five or six up at the start of the half, but our finishing was poor. We didn’t look like we were going to do it for long spells, but we eventually came up with the goods. I thought it was thoroughly deserved and the boys really, really worked hard. It gives us a chance in the quarter-finals and to go further than that.”

Even though Cascadia lost their opening fixture 4-1 against Ellan Vannin, Nicholls was forgiving of his team, who had only arrived in London the day before the game after a long flight from the United States. “We were disappointed with the result against Ellan Vannin. For large parts of the game, particularly in the first half, we were very, very dominant. The players struggled in the first half; the players were a little bit jet-lagged having been in the country for less than twenty-four hours.

“Some of the football we played was breathtaking at times and it set the foundation for what we thought we could do. We were disappointed with the final score because it wasn’t a 4-1 game.
“We built on that against Barawa. Again, at times our football was frightening with our pace and our movement. We were disappointed with the sending-off of Josh Doughty; a shame, but he’s served his suspension now and will come in. Some of the football we’ve played in the first three games would be as good as anybody’s played and if we can do that again… we could go far.”
To say that the North Americans were dismissed before the tournament would be putting it lightly, but Nicholls and his staff were undaunted. As he pointed out, the squad has its experienced players and more than a sprinkling of talent.

“Nobody gave us a chance; Paddy Power had us down as fourth favourites to qualify. Nobody really fancied us, we were a largely unknown quantity. As players and as staff, we believed in ourselves and we knew our own qualities. We have players such as James Riley who has played more than 300 games in the MLS, ex-Manchester United youngster Josh Doughty and other boys such as the Wilson brothers who have come in and done really, really well. We’ve got Max Oldham who will be one of the stand-out players. We knew we had a decent squad, but that it would depend on how long it took for us to click, and it clicked quicker than anybody thought.”

The players have not had much time to gel, but Nicholls, who played for Cumbrian side Kendal Town before joining the Cascadia set-up, said that they quickly made up for lost time after their first-ever training session as a team: “Most of the players arrived on Wednesday morning at ten, we trained at Barnet’s ground from 12:00 to 2:00, just so we got to know each other. Nobody knew anybody’s names. We trained on Friday afternoon, played on Saturday and Sunday and got two results. The boys have come from literally nothing and put in two unbelievable performances and they should be really proud of what they’ve achieved.”

Now Karpatalya await in the quarter-final, and although Nicholls in under no illusions about the task awaiting his side at Bracknell, he remains positive that his team can do well. “We’re under no doubts that it’ll be our toughest game of the tournament, but we’re at the business end of it and that’s where we all wanted to be. We’ve had a look at Karpatalya, they’re a footballing side, a physical side and we know we’re in for a battle but I’d back my boys against anybody and hopefully we can go out there and perform.”

Pat McGuinness

Fejer, Boudia and Singh Scoop #WFC2018 Awards

The Confederation of Independent Football Associations (CONIFA) is pleased to announce the following individual awards following the 2018 Paddy Power World Football Cup:

Goalkeeper Bela Fejer Csongor has been named the Paddy Power Player of the Tournament, following numerous impressive stints in goals for eventual champions Karpatalya including a match-winning save in the penalty shoot-out.

18-year-old striker Sami Boudia (Kabylia) has been named Global FCE Young Player of the Tournament. Boudia will be eligible to take up residency for one month at Global FCE’s unique training academies.

Kamaljit Singh (Panjab) has been awarded the CONIFA Golden Boot after topping the goal tally with six strikes.

CONIFA Statement Regarding Karpatalya

The Confederation of Independent Football Associations (CONIFA) has been alerted to comments of the Sports Minister of Ukraine, Igor Zhdanov, regarding Karpatalya, winners of the 2018 Paddy Power World Football Cup.

Minister Zhdanov posted on his official Facebook page: ‘I call on the Security Service of Ukraine to respond appropriately to such a frank act of sporting separatism. It is necessary to interrogate the players of the team, as well as to analyze in detail the activities of the deputy organizer of the “Carpathian” for the purpose of encroachment on the territorial integrity of Ukraine and ties with terrorist and separatist groups.’

CONIFA has similarly been alerted to the Football Federation of Ukraine’s intention to undertake an investigation into Karpatalya’s players. According to a statement on the Federation’s official website, ‘According to the results of this review, sanctions will be applied against these players, in particular – disqualification, after which players will not be able to claim to participate in amateur or professional tournaments held on the territory of Ukraine under the auspices of the FFU. We also urge the law enforcement agencies of Ukraine to pay attention to the fact of participation of the indicated players in competitions organized by CONIFA and to check their actions on the subject of propaganda of separatism and encroachment on the territorial integrity and inviolability of Ukraine.’

CONIFA wishes to stress that it is a politically-neutral, volunteer-run charity registered in Sweden. CONIFA takes no position on the political status of its member associations. CONIFA wishes to state that, to the best of its knowledge, the players, administrators and officials of the Karpatalya football team have never expressed any separatist sentiments or ambitions. The team has a long-standing, demonstrable history of publicly embracing the region’s dual heritage; the team’s flag and logo contain both flags, while the team wears Ukrainian and Hungarian colours on the pitch.

CONIFA General Secretary Sascha Düerkop said: ‘CONIFA is alarmed by calls to interrogate players from the Karpatalya team. CONIFA also considers the FFU’s proposal to de-register Karpatalya players to be draconian. We believe that everyone should be able to represent their identity via football. CONIFA stands with the players of Karpatalya and will monitor developments closely. We urge Minister Zhdanov and the FFU to reconsider their position.’

#WFC2018 Match-Day 6: Referees

The Confederation of Independent Football Associations (CONIFA) would like to express its immense gratitude to the referees officiating the 2018 Paddy Power World Football Cup. The following referees are in charge during Saturday’s matches.

Placement match G, Chagos Islands v Tuvalu, Bedfont Sports, 12pm

Referee: Raymond Motumba (Zimbabwe)
Assistant 1: Alan Martinez-Loyola (USA)
Assistant 2: Karl Parker (England)
4th official: Tomoki Okuyama (Japan)

Placement match H, Matabeleland v Tamil Eelam, Aveley, 12pm

Referee: Vitalii Mazin
Assistant 1: Valerii Kravchenko
Assistant 2: Alexandr Demenko
4th official: Dmitrii Zhukov
(Donetsk)

Placement match I, Tibet v United Koreans of Japan, Fisher FC, 12pm

Referee: Ivan Mrkalj (Germany)
Assistant 1: René Jacobi (Germany)
Assistant 2: Igor Gorshkov (Canada)
4th official: Givi Todua (England)

Placement match J, Kabylia v Abkhazia, Haringey, 3pm

Referee: Kristian Michel (Slovakia)
Assistant 1: Tomaž Pirman (Slovenia)
Assistant 2: Ollie Potter (England)
4th official: Clement Aurier (France)

Placement match K, Barawa v Western Armenia, Aveley, 3pm

Referee: Leon Dastych
Assistant 1: Wilhelm Gürtler
Assistant 2: Martin Rauh
4th official: Martin Heiland
(Germany)

Placement match L, Panjab v Cascadia, Fisher FC, 3pm

Referee: Mariano Sasso
Assistant 1: Mario Guastafierro
Assistant 2: Pasquale Esposito
4th official: Massimo Amitrano
(Italy)

Bronze match, Padania v Szekely Land, Enfield FC, 3pm

Referee: Utku Hamamcioglu
Assistant 1: Isfendiyar Aciksoz
Assistant 2: Zekai Tore
4th official: Fehim Dayi
(Northern Cyprus)

Final, Northern Cyprus v Karpatalya, Enfield, 6pm

Referee: Mark Clattenburg (England)
Assistant 1: Andrew Mario Parody (Gibraltar)
Assistant 2: Denis Perez (Gibraltar)
4th official: David Murphy (Isle of Man)

#WFC2018 Final

Author: Olaf Jensen

#WFC2018 Final: KARPATALYA 0-0 NORTHERN CYPRUS
(Karpatalya win 3-2 on penalties)

Karpatalya have won the 2018 CONIFA Paddy Power World Football Cup on penalties after a cagey goalless draw with Northern Cyprus, who will rue several fantastic missed opportunities.

As you’d expect from a major final, the opening stages were reserved and cagey. The first half was characterised by plenty of clumsy challenges – particularly from Northern Cyprus – but Mark Clattenburg ran a tight ship, and never produced a card.

Karpatalya had the best of the first period, but it was 10 minutes before Milan Laszik produced the first proper chance, glancing a powerful header narrowly wide.

Afterwards, the momentum seemed to swing towards Northern Cyprus. Their most lively player was Yasin Kurt, a pacy winger who would cut in from the right and thread incisive balls through to Tansel Ekingen. Ekingen, though, was too often outmuscled by the resolute Karpatalyan defence.

Kurt was a bigger threat, and it took Alex Svedjuk’s best efforts to deny him on one of his marauding runs into the box.

Then it was Karpatalya’s turn to attack. A Gergely Gyurki corner was barely scrambled away by the defence, and Istvan Sandor’s long-distance effort shaved the crossbar – the best chance of the half.

It was a nervous start to the second half; Northern Cyprus were unable to make the most of their strength and robustness, while Karpatalya were reduced to more long-range efforts from Sandor.

It wasn’t until the final minutes that Northern Cyprus started piling on the pressure. A sudden burst of energy was too much for the tiring Karpatalyans; Arif Uysal and Gajri Kiral surged through the defence to create a slew of chances.

Billy Mehmet, latching on to a cross from Unal Kaya, slammed a shot into the post – the best chance of the match – while Halil Turan put a header inches wide after good creative work. Uysal even called for a penalty after falling in the box, but Mark Clattenburg wasn’t interested.

A final corner amounted to nothing, and the final would have to be decided by penalties. Three fantastic saves from Bela Fejer gave Karpatalya the advantage, leaving Alex Svedjuk to bury the winner.

Not even the pouring rain could stop the Karpatalya celebrations, and the fans, whose colourful flares had lent the match a unique atmosphere, were delighted.

Video: 2018 Paddy Power World Football Cup Highlights

Ahead of the 2018 Paddy Power World Football Cup final on Saturday, relive the best moments of the tournament.

 

#WFC2018 Match-Day 5: Referees

The Confederation of Independent Football Associations (CONIFA) would like to express its immense gratitude to the referees officiating at the 2018 Paddy Power World Football Cup. The following referees are in charge during Thursday’s matches.

Placement match A: Chagos Islands vs Matabeleland, Aveley, 12pm

Referee: Amitrano Massimo
Assistant 1: Guastafierro Mario
Assistant 2: Sasso Mariano
4th official: Esposito Pasquale
(Italy)

Placement match B: Tamil Eelam v Tuvalu, Sutton, 12pm

Referee: Leon Dastych (Germany)
Assistant 1: Alan Martinez-Loyola (USA)
Assistant 2: Martin Rauh (Germany)

4th official: Raymond Mashamba (Zimbabwe)

Placement match C: Tibet v Kabylia, Enfield Town, 12pm

Referee: Clément Auclair (France)
Assistant 1: Igor Gorshkov (Canada)
Assistant 2: Karl Parker (England)
4th official: Kristian Michel (Slovakia)

Placement match D: Abkhazia v United Koreans in Japan, Bromley, 12pm

Referee: Utku Hamamcioglu
Assistant 1: Zekai Tore
Assistant 2: Isfendiyar Aciksoz
4th official: Fehim Dayi
(Northern Cyprus)

Placement match E: Barawa v Panjab, Sutton, 3pm

Referee: David Murphy (Isle of Man)
Assistant 1: Tomas Pirman
Assistant 2: Olly Potter
4th official Givi Todua
(England)

Placement match F: Cascadia v Western Armenia, Bromley, 3pm

Referee: Ivan Mrkalj
Assistant 1: Wilhelm Gürtler
Assistant 2: Martin Heiland
4th official: René Jacobi
(Germany)

Semi-final A: Northern Cyprus v Padania, Carshalton, 5pm

Referee: Dmitrii Zhukov
Assistant 1: Vitalii Mazin
Assistant 2: Valerii Kravchenko
4th official: Alexandr Demenko
(Donetsk)

Semi-final B: Karpatalya v Szekely Land, Carshalton, 8pm

Referee: Mark Clattenburg (England)
Assistant 1: Andrew Mario Parody (Gibraltar)
Assistant 2: Denis Perez (Gibraltar)
4th official: Roger Lundbäck (Sweden)

#WFC2018 Match-Day 4: Referees

The Confederation of Independent Football Associations (CONIFA) would like to express its immense gratitude to the referees officiating the 2018 Paddy Power World Football Cup. The following referees are in charge during Tuesday’s matches.

Quarter-Final A: Barawa v Northern Cyprus, Gander Green Lane, Sutton, 3pm

Referee: Ivan Mrki (Germany)
Assistant 1: Martin Heiland (Germany)
Assistant 2: Wilhelm Gürtler (Germany)
4th official: René Jacobi (Germany)

Quarter-Final B: Padania v Panjab, Larges Lane, Bracknell Town, 3pm

Referee: Vitalii Mazin
Assistant 1: Valerii Kravchenko
Assistant 2: Alexandr Demenko
4th official: Dmitrii Zhukov
(Donetsk)

Quarter-Final C: Cascadia v Karpatalya, Gander Green Lane, Sutton, 6pm

Referee: Fehim Dayi
Assistant 1: Isfendiyar Aciksoz
Assistant 2: Zekai Tore
4th official: Utku Hamamcioglu
(Northern Cyprus)

Quarter-Final D: Székely Land v Western Armenia, Hayes Lane, Bromley, 6pm

Referee: Givi Todua (England)
Assistant 1: Andrew Mario Parody
Assistant 2: Denis Pérez
4th official: David Murphy
(Isle of Man/Gibraltar)

Placement Match A: Ellan Vannin v Tibet, Hayes Lane, Bromley, 3pm

Referee: Guastafierro Mario
Assistant 1: Mariano Sasso
Assistant 2: Esposito Pasquale
4th official: Amitrano Massimo
(Italy)

Placement Match B: Matabeleland v Kabylia, Queen Elizabeth II Stadium, Enfield, 3pm

Referee: Kristian Michel (Slovakia)
Assistant 1: Thomas Pirman (Slovenia)
Assistant 2: Olly Potter (England)
4th Official: Dennis Wall (Sweden)

Placement Match C: Tamil Eelam v Abkhazia, Aveley, 6pm

Referee: Karl Parker (England)
Assistant 1: Tunde Adebayo (England) TBC
Assistant 2: Igor Gorshkov (Canada)
4th official: Clément Auclair (France)

Placement Match D: Tuvalu v United Koreans, Larges Lane, Bracknell Town, 6pm

Referee: Leon Dastych (Germany)
Assistant 1: Martin Rauh (Germany)
Assistant 2: Alan Martinez-Loyola (USA)
4th official: Raymond Mashamba (Zimbabwe)

CONIFA Statement Regarding Ellan Vannin

The Confederation of Independent Football Associations (CONIFA) has been informed that Ellan Vannin has withdrawn from the 2018 Paddy Power World Football Cup.

Ellan Vannin’s withdrawal comes following a vote of the tournament management committee on Monday 4 June, which rejected a challenge by Ellan Vannin to the eligibility of a Barawa player. Details of that vote can be found here.

Ellan Vannin’s fixture at 3pm on Tuesday 5 June, against Tibet at Bromley FC’s Hayes Lane, will be fulfilled by the ‘London Turkish All-Stars’. Refunds will be available online or on the gate on request. Ellan Vannin’s remaining fixtures in the tournament will be fulfilled by other opponents – CONIFA will release further details shortly. For tournament bracket purposes, Tibet’s match today will be treated as a 3-0 win.

Further details will be released shortly.

#WFC2018 Match-Day 4: Referees

The Confederation of Independent Football Associations (CONIFA) would like to express its immense gratitude to the referees officiating the 2018 Paddy Power World Football Cup. The following referees are in charge during Tuesday’s matches.

Quarter-Final A: Barawa v Northern Cyprus, Gander Green Lane, Sutton, 3pm

Referee: Ivan Mrki (Germany)
Assistant 1: Martin Heiland (Germany)
Assistant 2: Wilhelm Gürtler (Germany)
4th official: René Jacobi (Germany)

Quarter-Final B: Padania v Panjab, Larges Lane, Bracknell Town, 3pm

Referee: Vitalii Mazin
Assistant 1: Valerii Kravchenko
Assistant 2: Alexandr Demenko
4th official: Dmitrii Zhukov
(Donetsk)

Quarter-Final C: Cascadia v Karpatalya, Gander Green Lane, Sutton, 6pm

Referee: Fehim Dayi
Assistant 1: Isfendiyar Aciksoz
Assistant 2: Zekai Tore
4th official: Utku Hamamcioglu
(Northern Cyprus)

Quarter-Final D: Székely Land v Western Armenia, Hayes Lane, Bromley, 6pm

Referee: Givi Todua (England)
Assistant 1: Andrew Mario Parody
Assistant 2: Denis Pérez
4th official: David Murphy
(Isle of Man/Gibraltar)

Placement Match A: Ellan Vannin v Tibet, Hayes Lane, Bromley, 3pm

Referee: Guastafierro Mario
Assistant 1: Mariano Sasso
Assistant 2: Esposito Pasquale
4th official: Amitrano Massimo
(Italy)

Placement Match B: Matabeleland v Kabylia, Queen Elizabeth II Stadium, Enfield, 3pm

Referee: Kristian Michel (Slovakia)
Assistant 1: Thomas Pirman (Slovenia)
Assistant 2: Olly Potter (England)
4th Official: Dennis Wall (Sweden)

Placement Match C: Tamil Eelam v Abkhazia, Aveley, 6pm

Referee: Karl Parker (England)
Assistant 1: Tunde Adebayo (England) TBC
Assistant 2: Igor Gorshkov (Canada)
4th official: Clément Auclair (France)

Placement Match D: Tuvalu v United Koreans, Larges Lane, Bracknell Town, 6pm

Referee: Leon Dastych (Germany)
Assistant 1: Martin Rauh (Germany)
Assistant 2: Alan Martinez-Loyola (USA)
4th official: Raymond Mashamba (Zimbabwe)

CONIFA Statement Regarding Barawa and Ellan Vannin

Following an extraordinary meeting of the 2018 Paddy Power World Football Cup management committee, CONIFA wishes to announce that Ellan Vannin’s appeal against the progression of Barawa to the tournament quarter finals has been denied.

Following the conclusion of Group A on Sunday 3 June, Ellan Vannin – who placed third – lodged an appeal on the basis that a Barawa player, Mohamed Bettamer, was not in Barawa’s tournament squad and was therefore ineligible.

One hour before the Barawa’s first match of the tournament, on Thursday 31 May, team management were advised by a club that two selected players could not participate. On Friday 1 June, team management lodged a request with CONIFA to permit an additional player – Bettamer – to join the Barawa squad.

On the basis that a majority of participating teams had not complied with the squad registration deadline, and had been permitted to make changes following that deadline (but prior to Thursday 31 May), CONIFA granted Barawa’s request. That decision was not communicated to the other participating teams.

Pursuant to tournament rules, Ellan Vannin’s appeal was submitted for determination to the tournament management committee. The committee consists of nine members of the tournament organising committee, and one delegate from each of the 16 participating teams. Given that the matter directly concerned them, Barawa and Ellan Vannin were not permitted to vote.

On the morning of Monday 4 June, the tournament management committee met to determine Ellan Vannin’s appeal. The committee resolved to reject the appeal. Ellan Vannin subsequently sought to appeal the decision. The tournament management committee accepted their appeal.

On the evening of Monday 4 June, the tournament organising committee reconvened. 10 teams were represented in person. Three provided valid written proxies. Six tournament organising committee representatives were present. One provided a valid written proxy.

The committee firstly annulled the prior acceptance of the appeal on the basis that the decision was flawed by procedural irregularities, because CONIFA’s voting procedures had not been followed.

The committee then voted on whether Ellan Vannin’s appeal should be accepted, in which case Barawa would be relegated to third place and Ellan Vannin would proceed to the quarterfinal. By a vote of 13 to seven, the committee rejected Ellan Vannin’s appeal. Accordingly, Barawa will play in the tournament quarter finals on Tuesday.

The committee then voted on whether Bettamer should be permitted to continue playing in the remainder of the tournament. By a vote of nine to five, with five abstentions and one uncast vote, the committee determined that Bettamer is eligible for selection for the remainder of the tournament.

CONIFA is committed to transparency and openness, and hence have decided to outline the process followed as above. CONIFA wishes to reiterate that it is a volunteer-run charity.

The 2018 Paddy Power World Football Cup continues on Tuesday with match day 4 of the tournament. Four quarter finals and four placement matches will take place across the day. Tickets are available at conifa.org/tickets or at the gate.

#WFC2018 Match-Day 3: Referees

The Confederation of Independent Football Associations (CONIFA) would like to express its immense gratitude to the referees officiating the 2018 Paddy Power World Football Cup. The following referees are in charge during Sunday’s matches.

3pm: Coles Park Stadium (Haringey Borough FC): Barawa v Ellan Vannin (Group A)

Referee: Ivan Mrki (GER)
Assistant 1: Wilhelm Gürtler (GER)
Assistant 2: Martin Heiland (GER)
4th Official: Leon Dastych (GER

3pm, St Paul’s Sports Ground (Fisher FC): Tamil Eelam v Cascadia (Group A)

Referee: Givi Todua (ENG)
Assistant 1: Ollie Potter (ENG)
Assistant 2: Tomasz Pirman (SLO)
4th official: Kristian Michel (SVK)

3pm, Queen Elizabeth II Stadium (Enfield Town FC): Abkhazia v Northern Cyprus (Group B)

Referee: Dmitrii Zhukov (Donetsk Republic)
Assistant 1: Vitalii Mazin (Donetsk Republic)
Assistant 2: Kravchenko (Donetsk Republic)
4th official 2. Aleksandr Demenko (Donetsk Republic)

3pm, Larges Lane (Bracknell Town FC): Karpatalya v Tibet (Group B)

Referee: Raymond Mashamba – (ZIM)
Assistant 1: René Jacobi (GER)
Assistant 2: Martin Rupp Rauh (GER)
4th official: Dennis Wall (SWE)

6pm, Coles Park Stadium (Haringey Borough FC): Tuvalu v Matabeleland (Group C)

Referee: Clément Auclair (FRA)
Assistant 1: Karl Parker (ENG)
Assistant 2: Harry Rance (ENG)
4th official: Igor Gorshkov (CAN)

6pm, Bedfont Recreation Ground (Bedfont Sports FC): Padania v Székely Land (Group C)

Referee: Fehim Dayi (Northern Cyprus)
Assistant 1: Zekai Tore (Northern Cyprus)
Assistant 2: Isfendiyar Aciksoz (Northern Cyprus)
4th official: Utku Hamamcioglu (Northern Cyprus)

6pm, Queen Elizabeth II Stadium (Enfield Town FC): Western Armenia v Kabylia (Group D)

Referee: Amitrano (ITA)
Assistant 1: Guastafierro (ITA)
Assistant 2: Esposito (ITA)
4th official: Sasso (ITA)

6pm, Arbour Park (Slough Town FC): Panjab v United Koreans in Japan (Group D)

Referee: David Murphy
Assistant 1: Denis Perez
Assistant 2: Andrew Mario Parody
4th official: John McCallum
(Gibraltar/Isle of Man)