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.
Read more at FootballOceania.com