Words: Danny Clarke
On 1 September 2019, International Surrey Football, a non-FIFA representative team for the county of Surrey, located in the south-east of England, announced its plan to hold a four-team invitational tournament in the region. Called the Southern Frontier Cup, it invited three CONIFA members to compete ahead of the 2020 CONIFA Sportsbet.io World Football Cup.
The name of the tournament derives from the region’s Saxon history as a sparsely populated frontier region, with the majority of Surrey’s population listed on the banks of the River Thames closer to areas such as Southwark and Brixton, while little settlements existed in areas closer to the South Downs.
The region was fought over between the surrounding kingdoms of the time, Kent, Essex, Sussex, Wessex and Mercia, before the county was finally conquered by Wessex in 825. The name Surrey itself is derived from the Anglo-Saxon word ‘Sūþrīge’ (or ‘Suthrige’), meaning ‘southern region’, and this is thought to originate from the region’s status as the southern-most portion of Mercian territory.
The tournament, playing its inaugural edition in May 2020, will consist of four teams, including the host Surrey as well as three invited teams. The competition is played over two days in a knockout format, with teams being drawn at random into one of two semi-final fixtures. The losing teams from both fixtures will play a third-place fixture the following day, while the winning teams from both fixtures will play in the final held following the third-place fixture, giving each team two games in the tournament.
The 2020 Southern Frontier Cup will be held at Whyteleafe Football Club, located in the eastern part of Surrey in the borough of Tandridge (located south of Croydon), between 23-24 May, one week prior to the start of the CONIFA Sportsbet.io World Football Cup 2020, taking place in Skopje, North Macedonia between 30 May – 7 June.
Surrey had invited three CONIFA teams to take part, two of which have qualified for the 2020 World Football Cup.
Surrey – Playing their first game in 2018, ahead of the 2018 CONIFA World Football Cup held in London, International Surrey Football is hosting the Southern Frontier Cup. Surrey has previously played friendlies against two CONIFA members, Barawa and the Chagos Islands, as well as a friendly against the British Army FA, a county-level FA which is a member of the Football Association. Their participation in the Southern Frontier Cup will follow two other friendlies to be held earlier in May.
Yorkshire – Debuting in early 2018, the Yorkshire International Football Association was the first participant announced for the Southern Frontier Cup. Yorkshire debuted against Ellan Vannin and has gone on to play in a total of eight games, all against CONIFA members.
Cascadia – Debuting in the group stage of the 2018 CONIFA World Football Cup, the Cascadia Association Football Federation finished sixth out of the 16 participating teams. The north American side has qualified to participate in the 2020 edition of the World Football Cup and played two friendlies in 2019 against the Chagos Islands, which was held at Whyteleafe, as well as Darfur, held in Washington state, USA.
Parishes of Jersey – Debuting near the end of 2019 against Yorkshire, the Parishes of Jersey were the final team to be announced as participants in the Southern Frontier Cup. The Channel Island team has qualified for the 2020 CONIFA World Football Cup in North Macedonia. Parishes of Jersey has played three games, twice against Yorkshire as well as once against the Chagos Islands.
Looking beyond the 2020 edition of the Southern Frontier Cup, International Surrey Football has already outlined ambitions to hold editions of the tournament on an annual basis, with intentions for the tournament to be expanded to include a women’s edition to support Surrey’s women’s team, who are expected to debut ahead of the start of the Southern Frontier Cup in 2020. To find out more or to buy tickets for the 2020 Southern Frontier Cup, go to https://www.eventbrite.co.