16 Jun Padania Beats Kurdistan in World Cup Final!
Padania’s victory was not in the football (American translation: “soccer”) World Cup being played in South Africa but in the one that was just played in Gozo. You know, the Viva World Cup, the tournament among the unrecognized states of the world.
The World Cup being played in South Africa is sponsored by FIFA, the Federation Internationale de Football Association, the governing body of international soccer that is an association of the national football leagues from around the world. But, as author Steve Menary put it, there are “the lands that FIFA forgot,” such as the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, Gozo, Occitania, Somaliland, and, of course, three-time world (?) champions Padania. (No Transnistria, but Sealand is an Associate Member.) The Viva World Cup is organized by the NF-Board (see also wiki), which may have originally stood for “Non-FIFA Board” but is now referred to as the “New Federation Board.”
According to the EUObserver, the NF-Board
is also in contact with football associations in Abkhazia and South Ossetia in Georgia, the Basque Country in France and Spain, Chechnya in Russia, Nagorno-Karabakh in Azerbaijan and Transnistria in Moldova about future participation. Kosovo, which is recognised by 22 EU member states, is trying to get into the official football body, Fifa, instead.
Clearly, if Kosovo has the opportunity move up FIFA play, they’ll try to do so. FIFA accreditation is like statehood recognition: it is the gold standard for international relations. As for those who remain in the coalition of the unrecognized, while one of the NF-Board co-founders says the league eschews politics, I’m not sure the teams got the memo:
NFB co-founder and football historian Jean-Luc Kit told EUobserver that the games do not have a political agenda, other than to promote mutual understanding.
“We are allergic to politics. If anybody tries to make a political or religious statement during a match, then we stop the match,” he said. “We have never changed a border with a game of football.”
The teams do get to wear their ‘national’ colours, fly their flags and sing their anthems before each game, however… [snip]
Viva World Cup participants are not shy about its political connotations.
“It’s important politically for us to take part. We are trying to take part in all international events and organisations. But we are being systematically blocked by the Greek Cypriot administration,” Havva Ulgen, a Brussels-based envoy for the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, said. Her team is not playing this year due to a “technicality.”
I’m curious as to what kind of technicality can prevent an entity that already has Security Council resolutions (541 and 550) calling on all UN members not to recognize it as a state from playing in a league of national regions and unrecognized states. That must be some technicality.
Anyway, the next Viva World Cup is in 2012. Unlike the FIFA World Cup, which is held every four years, the Viva World Cup is every two years, perhaps because alot can happen to an unrecognized region in four years… I’m looking at you Kosovo, South Ossetia, and Abkhazia! The next Viva World Cup will be in Iraqi Kurdistan. I think smart money will be on Padania, the Brazil of the unrecognized. (OK, I know this year Brazil may not be the Brazil of the recognized, but you get my point.)