CONIFA Attends National Indigenous Football Championships (NIFC)

The Confederation of Independent Football Associations (CONIFA) was invited to the second National Indigenous Football Championships (NIFC) that took place in Nowra, Australia.

This report on that event was put together by Oscar Mussons, CONIFA Asia’s Business Development Manager, pictured in the middle of the photo to the right.

More than twenty Indigenous teams from across Australia competed for the title of Australian Indigenous Champions for both women’s and men’s categories. The event, held over a span of four days, was a great success and plans are underway to make next year’s championships even bigger.

Illawarra defeated Newcastle in the women’s final while Eora, from Sydney, defeated Brisbane to win the men’s championship.

CONIFA’s visit was hosted by the event director Bernie McLeod, a well-known and outspoken advocate for the Indigenous community. For years, McLeod has helped raise awareness of health issues among the Indigenous people by using football as a tool to get people active and motivated.

Our CONIFA representative, Oscar Mussons, had the privilege of sitting down with McLeod along with Phillip Pickering-Parker, director of Maori Football New Zealand (Aoteaora Football), where he had the chance to learn about the most recent developments of both associations and understand their future goals. Mussons presented CONIFA’s intentions to support both the association’s efforts to play football internationally, should they potentially become members of the CONIFA family and participate at upcoming tournaments.

The National Indigenous Football Championships already works in partnership with programs from the Johnny Warren Football Foundation and the John Moriarty Football (JMF) to identify Indigenous football talent.

CONIFA would like to thank Bernie McLeod, his family and championship organisers for their great hospitality as well as all of the stakeholders who made this championship possible. We look forward to working with them to ensure a bright future for the indigenous people of Australia and eager to support them participating in the international football arena in the near future.

“There can only be a couple of winners, but at the end of the day, it’s more about indigenous people as a whole winning together through the avenue of sport” Bernie McLeod

CONIFA Releases New Branding & Logo

In September 2017, CONIFA selected its new logotype. The “handshake football” logo was created to show CONIFA’s mission of building bridges and friendships through football. The six colours were selected to represent the six continents from which CONIFA has members.

Logo Pack

To use the CONIFA logo, please download the logo pack below. Note that use of the CONIFA logo is only permitted on the following colours:

  • White
  • Black
  • Purple – hex code #29225c

Tournament Logo Pack

Logos are also available from our previous World Football Cup and Euro Cup tournaments.

CONIFA Brings 2018 World Football Cup to London

The Confederation of Independent Football Associations (CONIFA) announced on Sunday that its next major tournament, the 2018 World Football Cup, will take place in London. The 16-team event will be held between Thursday 31 May and Saturday 9 June.

“We are thrilled to be taking CONIFA to England – the spiritual home of football,” said CONIFA President Per-Anders Blind. “The World Football Cup just gets bigger and bigger. After hosting our inaugural tournament in Sweden in 2014, we reached new heights in Abkhazia last year with an event that received media coverage on every inhabited continent. We are confident 2018 will be our best tournament yet, and London will be the perfect host.”

  • Buy tickets

CONIFA is the international football confederation for teams not part of FIFA. Its members include states, partially-recognised states, regions, minority groups and sports-isolated territories. CONIFA is strictly politically neutral, and is run by volunteers.

The 2018 World Football Cup will bring together a diverse collection of CONIFA members from around the world. Participation was determined based on qualification games/tournaments, regional qualification spots and two wild cards.

“For the first time in our history, we will have a team representing each continent with CONIFA members: Africa, Asia, Europe, North America and Oceania,” said the organisation’s General Secretary Sascha Düerkop. “We are particularly proud that the 2018 World Football Cup will be such an international spectacle, and provide a platform for our members to showcase they cultures, histories and footballing ability.”

The qualified teams are as follows:


  • Barawa
  • Matabeleland
  • Kabylia


  • Tibet
  • Tamil Eelam
  • United Koreans of Japan
  • Panjab


  • Abkhazia
  • Padania
  • Northern Cyprus
  • Western Armenia
  • Ellan Vannin
  • Felvidek
  • Székely Land

North America

  • Cascadia


  • Tuvalu

Barawa, a region of Somalia, qualified for the tournament as host – the Barawa Football Association is based in London and consists of Barawan diaspora. Tibet, whose Football Association (Tibet FA) has the honorary president of his Holiness the Dalai Lama, received a wildcard, as did Western Armenia.

Abkhazia qualified as reigning world champions after they beat Panjab in a thrilling penalty shoot-out finale at the 2016 World Football Cup. Padania qualified as European champions after winning the European Football Cup in Northern Cyprus earlier this year, while Tamil Eelam earned their spot by winning the Challenge Cup.

The participation of Tuvalu will raise awareness about the existential threat climate change poses to their low-lying Pacific island homeland.

The official draw for the 2018 CONIFA World Football Cup will take place in London later this year. The draw will also coincide with an announcement regarding the tournament’s major sponsor.

  • View Final Qualification Standings

Update from Oceania

The latest information from Kiribati and Tuvalu, as presented by writer Ola Bjerkevoll on the website

Kiribati – Fighting for FIFA membership

Kiribati are trying to gain entry into the football world, but are currently left alone to play football on their beautiful islands. But they want so much more, and helping them with that is one man from England.

Kiribati is a nation of 103,500 people comprised of 33 atolls and reef islands plus one raised coral island, the beautiful and tiny island of Banaba. 23 of these are inhabited, but most of the country’s inhabitants live on the main atoll Tarawa.

Despite the country being scattered around on many islands and atolls football still thrives in the country that gained its independence on this day from the United Kingdom in 1979.



Tuvalu – A nation’s struggle for footballing recognition

With a population between 10 000 and 12 000 people Tuvalu is one of the smallest nations in the world. Despite it being a tiny speck of dust on the world map they have a football team. A football team that is yet to be included into the FIFA-family, but might play in a World Cup next year.

Football is one of the biggest sports in Tuvalu and the tiny island nation’s governing football body, the Tuvalu Island Football Association (TIFA), run both men and women’s leagues as well as a junior and youth setup.

Tuvalu’s story is not unique. A small nation with few inhabitants with a love for the beautiful game who are not accepted into FIFA for a variety of reasons, most commonly it is the lack of infrastructure, such as a proper stadium or even a proper pitch (fellow Oceania nation Kiribati play on a mix of sand and gravel/clay and one of Tuvalu’s pitches doubles as an airport runway).

Ironically, these are all elements FIFA will help develop once the nations have joined FIFA. But to get into FIFA they have to have better stadiums and pitches but they can’t afford it unless they are in FIFA which won’t accept them because… you get the point, right? It’s a catch-22 of sorts.


Padania Crowned Champions After European Football Cup in Northern Cyprus

Padania, a region of northern Italy, are champions of Europe after beating Northern Cyprus in a dramatic penalty shoot-out at Ataturk Stadium in Lefkosa. The team’s win concluded a fantastic tournament, with CONIFA teams playing plenty of exciting football and enjoying wonderful hospitality from our Northern Cypriots hosts.

Following an eventful group stage, Northern Cyprus overcame Szekely Land while Padania triumphed over world champions Abkhazia in the semi-finals. Szekely Land went on to beat Abkhazia in the third-place playoff.

By placing first and second respectively, Padania and Northern Cyprus will both earn spots at the 2018 World Football Cup.

View photos below. All images copyright Jana Cavojska

Johannes Sauerwein kindly volunteered his services to media manager the European Football Cup for CONIFA. Below he shares his experiences from Northern Cyprus.

Northern Cyprus 2017 – How I saw my first CONIFA Euros

Shortly before the opening match on Sunday, June 4, I, a PhD student in Sports Economics, arrived a Larnaca Airport. In that moment, I thought that I went to Northern Cyprus to escape from sports business rather than to find genuine sport. On the contrary, my week in Northern Cyprus blew me away.

It was the time…

  • Going to Mağusa, Güzelyurt, Lefkoşa and Girne;
  • Having a wonderful walk through the picturesque historic town of Kyrenia;
  • Visiting countless remains of past civilizations, miles of natural beaches, beautiful calm sea in a wonderful mild climate;
  • Spending time in beautiful Northern Cyprus
  • Sitting in the VIP stand of the Atatürk Stadium to witness the opening match Northern Cyprus vs Karpatalja;
  • Getting to know the Prime Minister of Northern Cyprus, Hüseyin Özgürgün;
  • Witnessing seven soccer matches live;
  • Being able to cheer 18 goals (and six goals in penalty shoot-out);
  • Making 14 posts on Facebook;
  • Sharing 20 pictures on Instagram;
  • Tweeting 177 times;
  • Participating in two CONIFA Executive Committee meetings and six CONIFA Technical Meetings;
  • Assisting international media;
  • Dealing with media requests:
  • Answering questions and arranging interviews;
  • Discussing the future of the Middle and Near East with the president of the Kurdistan (IRAQ) Football Association, Mr. Safeen Kanabe;
  • Having dinner with the President of the National Olympic Committee of Abkhazia, Mr. Valery Arshba;
  • Trying to understand the Liverpool Scouse;
  • Listening to the stories of a former soldier talking about the chronicle of the Caucasian War;
  • Philosophizing about glory glory Man United with the head coach of the Ellan Vannin football team, Mr. Chris Bas;
  • Marveling at the traditional dances of the Abkhazians;
  • Watching the perfect final match Northern Cyprus vs Padania;
  • Sympathizing deeply felt with the losing team Northern Cyprus while also joining in the jubilant choir of Padania.
  • Making so many new friends
  • Realizing that CONIFA is building bridges between people, nations, minorities and isolated regions all over the world through friendship, culture and the joy of playing football
  • Knowing that football can still achieve great things and I will fully engage myself to support the work of CONIFA!

– Johannes Sauerwein

CONIFA visits the Matabeleland Football Confederacy

CONIFA General Secretary Sascha Düerkop has recently returned from an official visit to the Matabeleland Football Confederacy (MFC), in south-west Zimbabwe.

Düerkop engaged in discussions with MFC executives about ongoing CONIFA-MFC cooperation, and attended the inaugural Royal Cup.

Matabeleland is a region of Zimbabwe predominantly inhabited by the Northern Ndebele people, who share a common language and culture.

View the full Matabeleland trip report [PDF].

Five Teams Vying for 2018 World Football Cup “Wild Card” Spot

With a May 2nd deadline for official applications, five CONIFA members successfully submitted the necessary paperwork for the “wild card” spot at the 2018 CONIFA World Cup, location TBD.

Two Oceania, one Asia and two CONIFA Africa members are in the running for the wild card, which will be decided upon at the next CONIFA Executive Committee meeting, due to take place during the upcoming CONIFA Euros in Northern Cyprus in June.

The five candidates for the wild card are: Tuvalu, Tibet, Darfur, Saharawi, and Kiribati.

Teams announced for 2017 CONIFA European Football Cup in Northern Cyprus

World champions Abkhazia and continental champions Padania will be among the teams contesting the 2017 Confederation of Independent Football Associations (CONIFA) European Football Cup, to be held in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus from 4-11 June.

Following a recent vote by member associations, CONIFA announced that Abkhazia, Sapmi, County of Nice, Karpatalya, Ellan Vannin (Isle of Man) and Székely Land would join hosts Northern Cyprus and automatic qualifiers Padania at the tournament.

“The 2017 European Football Cup will bring together some of our best teams for what promises to be an exciting week of competition,” said CONIFA President Per-Anders Blind. “We are grateful to the Kıbrıs Türk Futbol Federasyonu (KTFF), the governing body of football in Northern Cyprus, for their organisational efforts to date. The CONIFA family is looking forward to our visit in June!”

Northern Cyprus is a self-declared state in the north-eastern portion of Cyprus, popular with tourists due to its climate, beaches and history. Northern Cyprus proclaimed independence in 1983 and is recognised by Turkey.

“Northern Cyprus has a proud football history,” explained KTFF representative Orcun Kamali. “We have a strong semi-professional league on the island, and our national team finished third in the last CONIFA tournament. The decision to host the 2017 European Football Cup was an easy one.”

CONIFA is looking to build on a tremendously successful World Football Cup in 2016, which saw home-side Abkhazia lift the trophy following a thrilling final against Panjab. Over 100 accredited foreign journalists covered the tournament, while millions of people around the world engaged with CONIFA through social media during the event.

“Last year’s championship in Abkhazia was undoubtedly our biggest and best yet,” CONIFA General Secretary Sascha Düerkop said. “We are hoping to maintain that momentum with a successful tournament in Northern Cyprus, as we look towards another World Football Cup in 2018.”

CONIFA is an international football federation for teams outside of FIFA, with members including states, de facto states, regions, minority groups and sports-isolated territories. CONIFA is a non-profit organisation registered in Sweden.

CONIFA Heads North For Its Newest Member

As we enter a new year, a new member has joined the CONIFA family: we are extremely proud to welcome Skåneland (Scania) as a member of CONIFA. Skåneland was unanimously approved by CONIFA’s Executive Committee on January 11, 2017.

Skåneland is situated on the southern part of the Scandinavian peninsula. Its area covers about 21,000 sq. kilometres. The historic Scania consists of four provinces – Skåne, Halland, Blekinge (today part of Sweden) and the Island of Bornholm (today part of Denmark). The present day population of Scania is about 1.5 millions. Neither the Territory of Scania nor the Scanians have any legal status in the State of Sweden. The Scanian language is not recognised by the State and is not subjected to sufficient legal protection.

The Scanian Football Federation (abbreviated: SFF) was founded 2010. The organization became a member of the now-defunct N.F.-Board in 2011.

Read more about Skåneland here.