CONIFA Keeps Growing! Lezghian FA Approved as a Member

The CONIFA family keeps growing steadily and is able to welcome its latest member – the Lezghian Football Association representing Lezghians around the world!

The Lezghian People are a minority from Dagestan (Russia) and Northern Azerbaijan that are looking back to 2400 years of history.

However, they just started to organize themselves in terms of football recently and are hoping to have some first friendly matches in their home stadium in the stadium of Magaramkent (Dagestan, Russia), which serves as their home stadium. Besides that the team is eager to play in CONIFA tournaments as soon as possible and test themselves on the biggest possible stage!

Once again a warm welcome to our 28th member and our 5th Asian member!

Read more about our newest members and ways to contact them directly on their CONIFA member page.

Looking Back and Moving Forward!

During the European Football Cup 2015 the Executive Committee of CONIFA sat together to recap the preparations for the tournament and to decide on the next steps towards a bright future. After some silence following the tournament we now want to publish our views on the visa refusals to two of our honorable members, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and in the same time we want to look with you on all the amazing things that await us in 2016!

Looking back:

We would like to start with the most negatively touching experience we had to make since the foundation of CONIFA, which was the denial of the Hungarian authorities, in particular the Hungarian embassy in Moscow, to ignore the visa requests of our members from Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The whole Executive Committee still feels devastated looking to the unwanted political message and side-not this added to our tournament. From day 1 one of CONIFA’s main values is neutrality and the pure work for people, not for political ideas or opinions. Nevertheless the Hungarian authorities made us a victim of political and diplomatic strategies and unfortunately we could not avoid in time, even though we joined all forces to do so.

The main point that left us speechless about the fact that the visa applications have been ignored is that no reason was given at any time, while it was approved that all formalities are correct and despite their earlier Schengen visa for the CONIFA World Football Cup 2014. This gives us and the Abkhaz and South Ossetian delegations the bitter feeling that visas have been declined only on the basis that the delegates were Abkhaz or South Ossetians. This would surely contradict paragraph 13, the freedom of movement, of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was signed by Hungary on 25.03.1969.

To express our shock and, most important, to reach a full investigation on the matter, we wrote an open letter to the embassy of Hungary in Moscow with copies being sent to the Hungarian Foreign Ministry, the European Union, the United Nations, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and media all over the world. We hope to achieve a full investigation and reasoning on the case, which hopefully leads to the fact that we will never again have to face such problems.

In addition the letter is published here to give everyone a chance to follow our doings and get their own impressions:

Moving forward:

During the same meeting in Debrecen we luckily also had the time to speak about the future of CONIFA, especially about our doings in 2016.

Today we can happily and proudly announce that the host of the 2016 World Football Cup will be Abkhazia!

The formal bid Abkhazia filed convinced every single member of the Executive Committee, which led to an unanimous decision to grant the beautiful country at the Black Sea Cost the hosting rights.

As Abkhazia is a member of CONIFA from nearly the beginning and is quickly growing their Football Federation with more and more friendly matches taking place in Abkhazia and its capital city Sukhum we are sure that Abkhazia is a perfect choice to enjoy a perfect football and cultural experience.

Surely all our members that will make the travel will never forget the beauty of the country and its people.

Even though our decision was solely based on the perfect bid, which shows a top-class infrastructure and enthusiasm of a whole country, we are also delighted to send out the signal that we fully stand behind all our members and that we especially appreciate a well-running Football Federation with high aspirations.

The next important step now is to send a delegation of CONIFA to Abkhazia to negotiate all the little and big details about the upcoming tournament and to put pen on paper to secure all the arrangements.

As soon as the official invitation to Abkhazia and the meetings with the local authorities and Football Federations is received our president will have the pleasure to travel to Sukhum. From that day on we all will work 24/7 to highlight Abkhazia on the world map as a touristic paradise, as a sport event host and last but not least as the peaceful and lovely society it is today.

We are all very much looking forward to Abkhazia and a fantastic event and to make your mouth water as well we can only recommend to watch the following video to see how the lately-finished national stadium in Sukhum looks now as it is finished:

CONIFA Visits Transnistria: “We Are Ready to Start a Great Common Journey with You”

The week just before the European Football Cup in Debrecen a CONIFA went on an official visit to Transnistria. Especially the future president of the Football Association, Evgheni Balaniuc, made it more than a pleasant trip. Our General Secretary, Sascha Düerkop, and our South America Director, Jens Jockel, were even welcomed by the Foreign and Sport Ministries of the country. “Football has a huge tradition in Transnistria and we are looking forward to express that with our own national team very soon.”

After a short 1 1/2 hour trip with a rental car from Chisinau, the capital of Moldova, our delegation arrived at the borders of the “Pridnestrovian Moldovan Republic”, as it is called officially. As we did have a personal invitation from the Foreign Ministry the border process was very easy and after all immigration and insurance paper were signed we could continue our journey through Bendery to the capital of Transnistria – Tiraspol. Evgheni Balaniuc, manager of the Moldovan First Division club Dinamo-Auto, author for uefa.com and future president of the Pridnestrovian Football Association awaited us in Tiraspol to show us our apartment for the stay – which was just next door to his flat. That is how our first visit to the small, but very nice, country started. Our host took all his time to quickly show us around the main sights in Tiraspol and answering all practical questions during the first evening.

During the touristic tours through the capital of Tiraspol, but also through Bendery, we got a good picture of the country and can only recommend everyone to visit it. Especially Tiraspol was, during our visit in summer, a very relaxed and laid-back place. Most people spend their daytime at the beach of the river Dniestr, that gives the country its name, or in one of the plenty parks in the green city. In the evenings and at night the locals took party boats floating on the river or headed in one of the plenty pubs or the top-class night club in the Sheriff-owned “Hotel Russia”. The overall impression was very positive and, most important and opposing some media reports we read before our travel, we can say that public life is totally peaceful and safe. Public crime is nearly non-existing and you will always feel safe walking around alone, no matter if 2 pm or 2 am.

One of the biggest sport centres in Europe

During the next days we were shown around the amazing sporting facilities of Tiraspol and its surrounding.

Evgheni Balaniuc’s club Dinamo-Auto has a 2009 built sport center just outside the city, including 2 training pitches, a very modern, even though small, stadium and a guest house that can easily host a guest team.

Right in the center of Tiraspol the national stadium is accessible freely for all citizens. It is an old-fashioned, but very atmospheric, multi-sport arena with around 20.000 seats.
Most impressive and well-known all over Europe was the Sports Complex “Sheriff” of the Moldovan football superpower “FC Sheriff Tiraspol”. Club coordinator Pogrebnoi Serghei greeted us, thanks to the organisation of the Foreign Ministry, at the gates of the breathtaking complex to show us all the facilities, which nearly took 2 hours due to the size of the complex. What feels like an own village at the outskirts of Tiraspol turned out to be a European top class sporting center with a full-pitch indoor stadium, 2 UEFA Europa League and Champions League certified outdoor stadiums, 8 training pitches, an Olympic swimming pool and a youth academy that can host up to 600 people.

Not only does Transnistria all the infrastructure to host friendly matches and/or tournament in and around Tiraspol, everyone we met also ensured us of their full support for the idea of CONIFA. Mr Balaniuc and Mr Serghei both agreed that their clubs (Dinamo-Auto and Sheriff) would happily play friendly matches against our members during pre-season or in the winter breaks. Both clubs also offered their facilities to be used by CONIFA for tournaments or friendly matches at any time.
In addition the Foreign Ministry and the Sports Ministry both expressed their desire to attract more international football in Transnistria by the help of CONIFA. After a few days in Tiraspol it became very clear that the opportunities for CONIFA in Transnistria are enormous and that we can start a long and fruitful journey together with the booming little country in the heart of Eastern Europe.

Strong support by the authorities

During a very valuable meeting with delegations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Sport all parties emphasized the strong support of the CONIFA values and were aiming for a strong cooperation with us. The Transnistrian diplomats explained us that football is traditionally very strong in their country and informed us about the clubs of the country, which traditionally are amongst the top teams in the Moldovan First Division and regularly play in international tournaments of UEFA. However, a national team was not formed yet, basically because the Transnistrian authorities were not aware of a proper platform, where such a team would be welcome to play.

Getting to know us, CONIFA, was received as an important stimulus to found a Football Association that manages a future national team. All paperworks have already been finished and filed to the Transnistrian Commerce Chamber. It was further unveiled that Evgheni Balaniuc, our host, was chosen to lead the newly build Football Association and that the FA is looking for CONIFA membership as soon as the national registration is finished.

Furthermore, the Foreign Ministry of Transnistria gave us an insight about the possibilities of Transnistria to host major events. They fully committed themselves to support any immigration processes for our members and to help with all organisational steps, should we grant them the hosting rights to a CONIFA event.

We happily received their wish to host a huge tournament “as soon as possible” in Tiraspol and/or Bendery.

Whatever the future will bring, surely the visit was a first very important step to get to know each other and exchange ones values. Our impression is that CONIFA and Transnistria fit perfectly and we can only strongly recommend every of our members to make a travel to Tiraspol to experience the perfect level of support and professionalism on their own.

A report of our meeting with the Ministries can also be found on the homepage of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Pridnestrovian Moldovan Republic

Спасибо за прекрасное время! Увидимся в Тирасполе!

Statement re #FIFAarrests

We have obviously seen through many media sources reports of an ongoing investigation of alleged corruption within FIFA, a situation we do not want to or should comment on.

However we would like to stress that CONIFA has been incorporated and established with extreme corporate governance and very high moral values to ensure that neither now or in the future any allegations of corruption or misdemeanors could be levied at ourselves or our members.

Our organization is there foremost to provide the opportunity for Countries, Regions, Ethnic People outside FIFA to represent themselves on the International Stage in football.

CONIFA visits Nice

CONIFA member County of Nice celebrated the free Monday on 25.05.2015 with the “Journée de La Selecioun” (engl: Day of the national team). The celebrations started early in the morning with a kid’s tournament to find the Under-11 County champion and ended in the first ever home match of the current World Champion, the Nice national team, against their local sporting rivals and close friends from Monaco.

The management of the County of Nice FA invited our general secretary Sascha Düerkop and his fiancée, who assisted our general secretary as photographer and by taking notes, over to Nice for the weekend to attend the festive day, meet the team to speak about the preparations for the Euros and last but not least to check out Nice and Monaco to be able to draw a picture to other teams interesting to play them at home later

Sascha arrived in Nice after a scenic, but exhausting, drive from Cologne on Friday evening and took the chance to explore the city center, the harbour and the old town of Nice on Saturday and drive down the “Corniche Basse” to Monaco just a few hours after the Monaco GP on Sunday. The French Riviera is not by accident known as one of the most beautiful areas in Europe. On top of the beautiful and scenic landscape and nature the unique mixture of French, Occitan and Italian culture, architecture, food and lifestyle adds a lot to the overall beauty of the area. This mixture is exactly what the whole County of Nice makes so special and unique.

The highlight of the visit was obviously the Journée de La Selecioun on the Monday and meeting the management of the County of Nice, Monaco’s FA Director Laurent Revollon, the Nicard national hero Alexy Bossetti and the parents of Formula One driver Jules Bianchi, who is still in coma after his horrible crash in Japan, and many more. Words can hardly describe the amazing atmosphere, the overwhelming hospitality and the great support of the Nicard people for their team – so our general secretary put together a small gallery of pictures below.

What remains of this trip is a good image of the beauty of Nice and a huge fascination about the passionate and perfectly friendly and hospitable people Sascha met everywhere in Nice. Besides that all final questions about the European Football Cup could be answered and the County of Nice will surely be perfectly prepared to win another title. We thank the County of Nice for the invitation and the amazing time our general secretary had during his long weekend. We will surely be back hopefully for many more football festivals taking place in Nice.
See you in Debrecen!

Signing of Team Aymara – Chile-Trip of our South America Director: Jens Jockel

First of all: We may welcome a new face in the CONIFA-Cosmos: Welcome Aymara!

The South American team of “Aymara”, a minority of Chile,Peru and Bolivia, signed a contract with CONIFA South America Director Jens Jockel to compete in the CONIFA World Cup 2016.

In the following lines I (Jens) want to present you the travel report of my journey to Chile.

The main aim of the travel was to enlist a team from South America for the CONIFA World Cup 2016.Further it was on the agenda to raise interest in CONIFA in South America, strengthen the links to CSANF and gain further information about possible CONIFA candidates, to cut it short: This aim was mainly reached due to my travel.

On the 16th of April I started my adventurous journey in Düsseldorf,Germany, where I took the plane to Madrid, and from there to the capital of Chile: Santiago de Chile, where I arrived a day later.

I stayed in and around the metropolis of Santiago for four days and explored the region, the hustle&bustle of the megacity, got to know more about the cultural landscape of Santiago, visited football matches and got to know the typical cuisine of Chile. After those four days I started my long and hard journey down to the South of Chile. Santiago de Chile can be described as typical metropolis. It has a lot to offer in regard to sports,culture and cuisine, but it is also a lot more expensive, a bit more dangerous and for sure more hectic than other cities in Chile. People who enjoy the “big city life” and are not afraid of wrestling lessons in the subway, Santiago is definitely the place to be in Chile! 😉

Now more about the South:

I stayed in Temuco for the time the Indigenous tournament took place. Temuco is the biggest city in the region of Araucania with approximately around 300.000 inhabitants. Araucania and especially Temuco is known for its cold climate (for South American standards), beautiful landscape and big percentage of people with German roots, as well as a big population of Mapuche (an indigenous tribe of Chile). From Temuco, I travelled daily to the tournament venues of the Chilean Indigenous Cup 2015: Villarrica and Galvarino. These towns were chosen as the municipalities of the playing venues.

The venues of the tournament were cleverly chosen: Villarrica is a small,interesting town 1.5 hours away from Temuco. Villarrica can be considered as touristic and authentic in equal amounts,while the small town of Galvarino (named after a Mapuche leader) has no touristic meaning and is a place that will not be stuck in your head for a long time most probably and is a more “quiet” place.

About the indigenous tournament:

Both venues (Villarrica and Galvarino) had pitches with artificial as well as natural grass, in Galvarino the games were even played simultaneously on both pitches. The final was held on artificial grass in the stadium of Villarrica.

Despite the fact that only eight teams took part in the tournament, the quality of the football could be described as very diverse.

While teams like Mapuche,Aymara or Rapa Nui could at least compete in semi-professional football, teams like the last-ranked Lickan-Antay, a team from the northern part of Chile or the Quechua are comparable to a “Sunday League”-team in Germany or England.

The Sports Ministry provided water,equipment,referees etc. for the tournament, but did not care too much about what is actually happening down there, or showed interest in any other way in Villarrica and Galvarino.

These are the results of the tournament:

1.) Mapuche

2.) Aymara(congrats boys!)

3.) Rapa Nui

4.) Kaweshqar

5.) Williche

6.) Kolla

7.) Quechua

8.) Lickan-Antay

The final between Mapuche and Aymara was a really tense one. Final score: 1-0.

It could have went either way. Remarkable was the high passion and aggression of both teams.

There could have been easily 3-4 red cards, but the referee preferred not to let things escalate.

More about the tournament: It was very disappointing to see, that the tournament had not got the attention of many spectators. With more professionality, certain PR-arrangements before the tournament and more attention by the city councils and Sports Ministry they could have made sure a bigger public interest.

Only on the last two days, there were radio spots on a local radio station. Consequence: bigger interest of the population. With these arrangements before the tournament , I am pretty sure, the venues would have been at least half-filled.

But at least the players themselves were really ambitious and showed passion meanwhile the tournament.

After the tournament, I went back again to Santiago and from there to Valparaiso, a beautiful city on the pacific coast of Chile. It was a city of an amazing diversity and probably by far his favorite city in Chile.

aymara-foodIn Valparaiso you can smell and feel everywhere the intensity of life. Good laughter & smiling people, fresh air, good and bad areas, classical chilean food as well as restaurants with worldwide specialities for a small or middle budget , food and clothes markets, a high degree of passion for football (especially for their club Santiago Wanderers,which they really adore) and a very unique architecture. A big part of the city of Valparaiso is build on many hills, you can walk up there (if you have a certain level of fitness ;)) or you can use one of the 16 worldfamous ascensors for only 100-300 chilean pesos (roundabout 20-60 cents).

Also Valparaiso is known for its important harbour and for the fact that the city shares its city limits with Vina del Mar. Vina del Mar is famous for the important ATP-tournament(Tennis) and its wonderful beaches, although I got to know the hard way that April and May is in Chile not really the suitable time for bathing weather, as the area can be considered as a lot colder than for example Santiago de Chile! 😉

Back in Santiago, it was time to sign the contract with the Aymara, who will compete in the WC2016 of CONIFA.

This was very difficult,because they hardly spoke any English, so I needed help of a good friend of mine, who is actually an professional translator(thanks to Camila!), because the content of the contract had to be explained to Juan,the chef of the Aymara-squad in Spanish.

On 5.5 I took my flight back to Madrid and from there to Duesseldorf,the final destination where I arrived at 6.5.

To sum the travel up:

There were a lot of good people I met and nice experiences I made, I really enjoyed the diversity of the country, the passion for life and football and the food.

But I also was confronted with a lot of: lack of engagement, lack of professionality, people who don’t care, strange value of manners, egocentric mentality and a high degree of “we do care about nothing- approach” of the chilean Sports Ministry, who was seen as a keyfactor in reaching the aim to get Aymara (and maybe Rapa Nui) to the CONIFA-world cup.

That was probably the most unprofessional and disrespectful way, somebody could imagine.

They do not read e-mails, nor do answer, nor provide necessary things, arrangements or travel.

Before the travel,they recieved a lot of e-mails in English, as well as Spanish , with necessary arrangements and details that they had to take care about. Neither the Sports Ministry nor their secretary cared about anything.

So, because of their lack of engagement, not even a press conference was possible, which would have been really appreciable for spreading the idea of CONIFA and put a spotlight onto indigene football in Chile at least for a moment.

They simply did not care about the impression they might make to : the teams themselves, CONIFA and their ExCo,nor the followers of CONIFA. So I speak quite frankly: The aim we reached, which is to sign Aymara and get them to the WC2016 of CONIFA, is more or less an achievement of a very small number of courageous people( Thanks to Camila and Gonzalo for their courage and passion !).

Chilean people, with whom I spoke about the tournament and the circumstances I faced on the tournament and the impression I got by the government pointed it out to me quite frankly and direct: “They do mainly care about professional sports. Professional sports, where a lot of money is involved.”

Yes,unfortunately I can share that impression . Sad for the beautiful country and the majority of wonderful people there.

I wish, that in the future the Sports Ministry of Chile cares more about such issues and improves the communication to CONIFA and Aymara.

At least, our friends of Aymara, now got the possibility to show their colours at the WC-2016.

…Maybe our friends of Rapa Nui(Easter Isles) change their mind and will also be interested in the WC-2016?

We will see.

Best wishes & welcome in the CONIFA-family

Your South America Director,

Jens Jockel

P.S: Who is really interested in it or wants to visit Chile and is in need of some inspiration or ideas can contact me via e-mail :

CONIFA Summer 2015

We from CONIFA are proud to announce that we overcome all hurdles we had in our way recently and can now publish plenty of informations about an action-packed summer season to come.

The main CONIFA event 2015 is surely the European Football Cup 2015 in Debrecen, which will see 8 of the best teams outside FIFA in Europe and will be played from 17.06. to 21.06.. Further info on the first ever European Championship to be played outside FIFA can from now on be found here. This page will be regularly updated and translated in several languages before the event kicks off.

In preparations to the European Football Cup 2015 many of the competing teams will play friendly matches and tournaments to test their squad and include the non-European CONIFA teams in the loop.
During the next week we will focus on the preparations and trainings of the teams and will try to analyze their current form in the series “Road to Debrecen”, to be published here.

Last but not least CONIFA is very happy to announce that it grew again lately, with the Football Federation of Western Armenia joining the family. We are very much looking forward to see this new member in action as soon as possible!

CONIFA European Football Cup Schedule

The European Football Cup 2015 will be played in less than 2 months in Hungary’s “second city” Debrecen!

Everyone within the CONIFA family and all of our teams are very much looking forward to meet each other in Debrecen and battle for the trophy of the European Champions outside FIFA.
In addition to the title CONIFA decided that the teams finishing top 3 will automatically qualify for the 2016 World Football Cup.

Now, as the tournament is coming closer quickly, we are all working a lot “behind the scenes” to get all the millions of little details sorted out and guarantee a perfect experience to all teams and visitors.

Besides that all the teams are doing intense preparations for the European Football Cup, which is the biggest international football tournament for teams outside FIFA. Plenty of friendly matches all across Europe will be played to find the best players for the tournament squads. We will update everyone here about all planned matches as soon as they are ready to be published.

Unfortunately 3 teams (Franconia, Monaco, Nagorno-Karabakh) cancelled their participation for the 2015 European Football Cup in Hungary for various reasons, which we will leave to them to publish. However, we adapted the tournament schedule and are now ready to publish it here.

The teams will now meet in three groups of 3, with the group winners and the overall best second-ranked team advancing to the semi-finals directly.

Saludos Desde Chile!

CONIFA South American Director Jens Jockel is on a visit to Chile right now to strengthen the links between CONIFA and the CSANF (Consejo Sudamericana de Nuevas Federaciones).

After a few days in Santiago de Chile Jens Jockel drove down all the way to Temuco, in the very South of Chile, to attend the 8-team tournament “Fecha del Nacional de Fútbol de Pueblos Originarios” (South American Championship of Indigenous People). With Mapuche, Rapa Nui (Easter Island) and Aymara three members of the CSANF participate in this tournament and battle for the trophy.

Our South America Director just arrive in time to see the last group stage day and attending a 3:0 win of Rapa Nui over Likan Atay and a 1:1 draw between Mapuche and Aymara.
Besides that he had the chance to meet the team managers and the leading staff of the CSANF to speak about a future cooperation.

During the next day Mr Jockel will attend a few more matches and liaise with the teams before he will meet the Chilean Sports Minister and the CSANF president (again) to do a common press conference.

Another pivotal point of the travel is the signing of a contract ensuring funds of the Chilean Sports Ministry to cover the travel costs of 2 teams to the CONIFA World Football Cup 2016.

 

CONIFA European Football Cup draw

The groups for the maiden CONIFA European Football Cup 2015 taking place in Budapest, Hungary are drawn. FC Liverpool Legend Robbie Fowler and CONIFA European Director Alberto Rischio were chose to draw the teams into the 4 groups of 3. The full draw can be seen as it happened on the Isle of Man here: Manx TV

The whole drawing procedure was perfectly organized by the Manx International Football Alliance and the CONIFA vice-president Malcolm Blackburn. We want to thank both parties for creating a great memory for all CONIFA teams. We are absolutely delighted that Malcolm Blackburn and MIFA were able to win a legend like Robbie Fowler for this important draw and we want to thank Robbie Fowler for supporting us and acting as a CONIFA ambassador this way!

Group A:

Top seed Padania, who are currently ranked second in the CONIFA ranking amongst European teams, will surely be the favorite in this group with Nagorno Karabakh and Franconia.

However Nagorno-Karabakh was seen by many as an unlucky underperformer of the 2014 CONIFA World Football Cup where the team met both later finalists in the group stage losing in close calls against boths. Franconia on the other hand looks like the dark horse in the group as they only ever had one friendly (4:2 vs Raetia).

Group B:

While this group is surely dominated by the match of the current World Champion County of Nice against the current vice-champion Ellan Vannin it also features a very interesting new team, namely the Romani People national team. County of Nice and Ellan Vannin met each other twice during the World Football Cup 2014 in Sweden with Ellan Vannin winning the group match and County of Nice winning the final on penalties and lifting the trophy. The Romani People team so far only played with a slightly different, more local, team a friendly tournament in Germany against other “immigrant teams” without much of a success.

Group C:

The third group drawn together is most likely the closest call of all groups and was immediately seen as the “group of death” by the teams drawn into it. Classical powerhouse Northern Cyprus did miss the 2014 World Football Cup and will make their comeback to football outside FIFA after a pause of 3 years, which makes them hardly predictable. Abkhazia and South Ossetia on the other hand both played the CONIFA World Football Cup and met each other in the quarter finals where South Ossetia knocked out Abkhazia in a penalty shootout. This is just one of many signs that this might be the toughest group in the tournament.

Group D:

The currently best ranked European team within CONIFA, Occitania, which improved enormously over the last 3 years, will play against neighboring Monaco and the host team from Szekely Land. As the Szekely team consist of many FIFA Futsal World Cup experienced players they are expected to be technically very strong. Monaco is the only fully recognized nation participating in the European Football, but do only have a very few footballers to pick from.

European Football Cup 2015 Ultimately Moved to Budapest!

The CONIFA European Football Cup (EFC) 2015, the first ever European Championship of national teams outside FIFA, will be held in Budapest, Hungary.

Szekelyföld LE will act as a host and Dr. Kristof Wenczel will act as the head of the new organizing committee working on all details of the tournament.

Sticking to one of our highest values, transparency, we would like to explain which circumstances led to the second and now radical move:

Initially the hosting rights were awarded to the Manx International Football Alliance (MIFA) unanimously by the CONIFA Executive Committee in August 2014. MIFA planned to host the whole tournament in the city of Douglas with 12 invited teams.

Unfortunately unforseen travelling issues, especially the limited numbers of ferry tickets directly after the TT Races made it impossible to fit the needs of the teams and the large number of fans wanting to see the matches. In addition financial backing of local companies, investors and government did not materialise as MIFA originally believed. These reasons combined made it difficult to organize and finance a tournament on the Isle of Man alone.

However CONIFA and MIFA were approached by different sponsors from England, more precisely Greater London, who were very willing to back and support the tournament. Unfortunately despite several extremely positive meetings in London CONIFA and MIFA were last week informed that this finance would not be available in the short term which was required to meet deposit payments for Stadium hire, hotels, transport etc.

For these reasons and the fact that major events on the Island had failed in the past where reliance had been placed on forward selling of tickets MIFA were not willing to risk a situation where the tounament could be cancelled or number of teams reduced at short notice.

MIFA requested CONIFA to hold an emergency Executive Committee Meeting to discuss the situation MIFA presented different feasible options to the Committee which were discussed in detail.
Unexpectly the CONIFA legal advisor, Dr Kristof Wenczel, who is also the FA president of the Szekely Land FA, offered to host the tournament in Budapest.

Of course this alternative was felt to be in the best interest of our members as it had no alteration to the agreed tournament format as suggested by MIFA.

All 12 competing teams were then contacted and informed of this proposal.

So ultimately the EFC hosting rights were moved to Szekely Land FA unanimously backed by the CONIFA Executive Committee and the participating teams.

We all are very thankful for this fantastic offer of Dr Kristof Wenczel and Szekely Land and their courage and determination to accept this challenge in such a short period of time.

Even though an EFC in Budapest looks like an emergency plan and was not planned initially we nevertheless can also say that we feel very confident that this tournament will be of the highest standard. Looking into the drafts for the European Football Cup in Budapest 2015 and knowing of the full support of the Hungarian public, government and Football Asscociation, we can expect this tournament to set new standards in many ways.

We as CONIFA and every single team is very much looking forward to the tournament and we invite you, our followers and media from all over the world, to follow us on each step to the tournament in June.

CONIFA will of course fully support Szekelyföld LE and the local partners in Hungary in every challenge they face and we will publish more detailed news on a regular basis as it becomes available.

CONIFA is extremely sorry for MIFA and its team Ellan Vannin that the Euros are not taking place on the Isle of Man as originally planned and recognises and applauds the effort and commitment that MIFA always demonstrates towards CONIFA.

We also would like to apologise to any supporters of the teams or general public who may now have to alter travel arrangements.

European Football Cup Restructured, Games in London, Too

Due to the unexpected high number of travelling fans wishing to support their teams, CONIFA had to restructure the European Football Cup.

This due to logistical issues in availability of hotel accommodation on the Isle of Man and available space on the ferry at the beginning of the Tournament week.

The European Football Cup will therefore take place in London at two Stadia venues from Sunday 14th June to Thursday 18th June (Group and pre placement matches). All placement matches and final will be held on the Isle of Man on Saturday and Sunday, 20th and 21st June.

CONIFA believe that this decision is in the best interests of its members and supporters, and also will still see the Isle of Man as hosts of all the final matches and of course where the champion will be crowned.

Seeding for the European Football Cup 2015

Now all 12 participants of the first ever European Football Cup are known we could update the ranking to determine the seeding for the tournament.

Since we know all the participants of the European Football 2015 on the Isle of Man we gathered all matches played recently and recalculated our Ranking on that basis. Thanks to a huge win against Ellan Vannin our member Occitania jumped up in the rankings and now only do have Guernsey in front of them. Panjab and Szekely Land made it to the rankings for the very first time after their debut wins vs. Sealand and Raetia in the end of 2014.

Based on our official ranking the top seed for the European Football Cup 2015 is made up by the teams from Occitania, Padania, County of Nice and Northern Cyprus. Those teams will head the groups.

Being just a single ranking point (or one goal too much against Occitania) behind Northern Cyprus the host team Ellan Vannin will be in Pot 2 alongside with Nagorno-Karabakh, Abkhazia and Szekely Land.

One more goal against Raetia in their first ever match would have brought Franconia a better seeding. But as Szekely Land won higher against the same opponent the third and last pot will now be filled by the teams from Franconia, South Ossetia, Sapmi and Romani People.

We saw Ellan Vannin going all the way to the final as an absolute outsider in the 2014 World Football Cup. On the opposite Sapmi as a group head did not make it through the group stage. Whatever the odds say, in the end it only counts what happens on the field.

European Football Cup: Padania 12th Participant

In October we announced 11 participants for the European Football Cup. Now we can announce the 12th and last team: Padania.

Padania ended 5th in the World Football Cup in Sweden and is one of the leading teams outside FIFA. Because of that we’re very happy that we can announce this giant as the 12th participant.

The Europen Football Cup will be played in Douglas, the Isle of Man. The tournament will take place from the 13th till the 21st of June. It will be the first ever European Championship between representative teams outside FIFA.

The 12 teams: Ellan Vannin, County of Nice, Abkhazia, Nagorno Karabakh, South Ossetia, Occitania, Romani People, Franconia, Sapmi, Northern Cyprus, Szekely Land and Padania.