The first ever non-FIFA home nations football tournament will take place in June 2019, hosted by Yorkshire International Football Association (YIFA), and featuring Ellan Vannin (Isle of Man), Parishes of Jersey FC, and Kernow FA (Cornwall).
The Atlantic Heritage Cup fixtures will be held at grounds around the county, and the tournament is a qualifying competition for the CONIFA Sportsbet.io World Football Cup that will take place in Somaliland in 2020.
YIFA will also host fixtures against two African teams, Somaliland and Matabeleland, in May and July, and the results of these will also contribute towards qualification for the 2020 CONIFA Sportsbet.io World Football Cup.
Matabeleland bring with them experience of previous international tournaments, having taken the 2018 CONIFA World Football Cup by storm, and Somaliland, as the hosts of the 2020 competition, will be wanting to put a marker in the sand – to show that they can compete at the highest level.
All venues for these fixtures are TBC and will be announced in the coming weeks.
Philip Hegarty, Chairman of YIFA, said: “The Atlantic Heritage Cup is the first time such a tournament has been held, and to host it in Yorkshire is particularly special. It’s a fantastic opportunity to promote Yorkshire, football in Yorkshire, and the warmth of our welcome to friends, new and old, from around the UK and beyond.
“We are also excited to be introducing the flair and the football of Somaliland and Matabeleland to the people of Yorkshire.
“These fixtures will be a wonderful opportunity to see high-quality international football across Yorkshire, and for the whole county to celebrate our uniqueness and our culture, while learning about others.
“There is no doubt the games will be challenging, but the Viking spirit of YIFA can conquer all comers – if we have the support of the whole community behind us.”
YIFA’s most recent fixture took place in late 2018 against Panjab FA, which the team won 5-4. Previously YIFA have also played Chagos Islands (6-0 victory), Parishes of Jersey (2-1 loss), Ellen Vannin (1-1), and Barawa (7-2 victory).
The YIFA 2019 Spring/Summer fixture list is as follows:
Sat 4 May
Yorkshire v Somaliland
Venue: Athersley Rec FC
Pay on the gate
Fri 31 May – Sun Jun 2
The Atlantic Heritage Cup
Venues and times TBA soon
Pay on the gate and online ticket sales coming shortly
Sun 21 Jul
Yorkshire vs Matabeleland
Venue: Thackley AFCKO: 3pm
Pay on the gate