An international tournament that will feature North Cyprus’ national football side has received a crucial boost after attracting a major backer. Irish bookmaker Paddy Power has been announced as the title sponsor of the 2018 CONIFA World Football Cup, which will take place in London from the end of May.
The tournament is organised by the Confederation of Independent Football Associations (CONIFA), which allows countries and regions not represented by FIFA to participate. Last year, North Cyprus hosted the CONIFA 2017 Euros, where they were runners-up.
North Cyprus has qualified for the 2018 Paddy Power CONIFA World Football Cup, which will feature 16 teams from across the globe. Alongside the Turkish Cypriot national team will be defending World champions Abkhazia, European champions Padania, and debutants such as Tibet, Barawa and Kabylia. The tournament will begin on Thursday 31 May, with the Grand Final decided on Saturday 9 June.
“We see Paddy Power as a fantastic fit to support our biggest event yet,” said CONIFA President Per-Anders Blind. “Both CONIFA and Paddy Power have reputations for doing things differently, and we are excited about collaborating with them to deliver an incredible celebration of football, culture and international understanding in the sport’s spiritual home, London.”
A spokesman for Paddy Power said: “I’m thrilled to announce Paddy Power’s sponsorship of the CONIFA World Football Cup – organised for the outsiders and underdogs of international football who aren’t recognised by FIFA.
“We all know that London was supposed to hold a major football tournament this summer, so we decided to serve one up for our UK punters which couldn’t be stolen away by Russian Rubles.
“It is especially exciting because it’s the first time Paddy Power been mentioned in the same breath as the Dalai Lama”
“It is especially exciting because it’s the first time Paddy Power has organised an entire tournament. Or been mentioned in the same breath as the Dalai Lama.”
CONIFA is a non-profit organisation registered in Sweden. Its members include states, de facto states, regions, minority groups and sports-isolated territories.
Paddy Power, part of Paddy Power Betfair, is an Irish bookmaker with extensive operations in the United Kingdom.