The Confederation of Independent Football Associations (CONIFA) Executive Committee met on Wednesday 6 June to consider the recent actions of member team and 2018 Paddy Power World Football Cup participant Ellan Vannin. CONIFA’s previous statements on this matter can be found here (regarding Ellan Vannin’s challenge to the eligibility of a Barawa player) and here (regarding Ellan Vannin’s decision to withdraw from the tournament).

The Executive Committee voted to provisionally expel Ellan Vannin from CONIFA, with a final decision on Ellan Vannin’s membership to be made by all members at the Annual General Meeting in January. In coming to this decision, the Executive Committee considered the following matters:

A) The tournament rules permit the organising committee to amend or alter the rules where circumstances so require. The tournament rules do not require the organising committee to inform participating teams of any changes. While CONIFA accepts that such communication is best practice and consistent with its belief in transparency – and has committed to undertaking a full review of its regulations following the tournament – CONIFA was under no obligation to inform participating teams of decisions concerning squad changes. Ellan Vannin therefore had no valid grounds for its appeal regarding the eligibility of Mohamed Bettamer.

CONIFA also wishes to highlight that participating teams (including Ellan Vannin) made a total of 21 changes to their squads between the mandated deadline and the beginning of the tournament; not permitting Barawa to do so, given the extraordinary circumstances, would have been inconsistent and unfair. CONIFA did not adopt a strict approach to the squad deadline because it appreciates the many hurdles its teams – many of whom are volunteer-run and do not receive state funding – face in forming a full squad and travelling to an international football tournament. The Executive Committee is of the belief that this sympathetic approach is consistent with CONIFA’s core values.

B) In its press release of Tuesday 5 June, Ellan Vannin made numerous inaccurate and offensive statements. These – and its withdrawal from the 2018 Paddy Power World Football Cup – are contrary to the Statement of Conduct, which form part of the tournament rules. Ellan Vannin’s conduct also represents a breach of the tournament participation contract, executed between CONIFA and Ellan Vannin. CONIFA will consider whether, pursuant to the contract, it will require Ellan Vannin to indemnify CONIFA for any losses suffered as a result of Ellan Vannin’s conduct.

C) Ellan Vannin’s withdrawal was done despite the rejection of its appeal being made by the tournament management committee, constituted by delegates of all participating teams and the organising committee. Accordingly, the decision represented CONIFA’s democratic will. Ellan Vannin’s disrespect of this democratic decision is contrary to CONIFA’s core values.

CONIFA is deeply disappointed by the actions of Ellan Vannin, which have detracted from an otherwise incredibly successful 2018 Paddy Power World Football Cup. CONIFA demand that Ellan Vannin apologise to all CONIFA members for its actions, and retract the inaccurate and offensive comments made about CONIFA, the Barawa Football Association and CONIFA General Secretary Sascha Düerkop.

CONIFA is looking forward to a successful conclusion to the 2018 Paddy Power World Football Cup.