Figure 1 Saint Pierre and Miquelon football players with FFF advisors Stephane Suflaj and Samuel Riscagli (in white). Image: Samuel Riscagli
The tiny French territory of Saint Pierre and Miquelon, two neighbouring islands just 25km off the Canadian coast, were one of the few places in the world that remained pretty much ignored by international football organisations so far. Football on the archipelago, and of its 6,000 inhabitants, is officially governed by the Ligue de Football de Saint Pierre et Miquelon (LFSPM), which is part of the French Football Federation (FFF). While a local league, with just three teams, has played since 1976, the islanders have rarely played away from their homes. A representative team only featured in the 2010 and 2012 editions of the Coupe de l’Outre Mer, a tournament between all French Overseas Territories formerly played biannually in metropolitan France. A goal difference of 2-78 over seven matches did not particularly lead to an upswing of local football, either.
Lately, however, the FFF seems to be investing more in football on the islands. From 2018-2019, local clubs where integrated into the Coupe de France – the biggest cup competition in France. Saint Pierre and Miquelon thus became the last (populated) territory of France to participate in a national cup. In a remarkable interview with the local TV channel, Samuel Riscagli, who the FFF appointed as a technical advisor for the LFSPM last year, announced his plans for the islands: he is not only planning to raise funds to build a ground with an artificial pitch on the archipelago, but also plans to bring the U13 national team to the Futsal World Cup next February, and join the FIFA continental governing body CONCACAF soon.
After CONCACAF’s affiliation of Bonaire in 2014, only the Dutch islands of Saba and Sint Eustatius, the French territories of Saint Pierre and Miquelon and Saint Barthelemy and the British territory of the Falkland Islands were left out of FIFA-sanctioned football on the double continent. As Saint Barthelemy expressed similar intentions, the two Dutch territories might soon be the last remaining white spots on CONCACAF’s, and ultimately FIFA’s, map of North America and the Caribbean.