The Turkish Republic of North Cyprus will host next year’s CONIFA European Championship. Twelve teams from politically non-recognised nations and territories in Europe will compete for the right to lift the trophy.
The tournament is being organised by the Confederation of Independent Football Associations, or CONIFA for short. It serves as an alternative to FIFA, which only admits the football associations of countries recognised by the United Nations.
According to sources in North Cyprus, the CONIFA European Cup will run from 3 to 11 June 2023. The host nation, Northern Cyprus, automatically qualifies. The remaining 11 teams in the tournament will be from this pool of 20 teams:
Abkhazia, Artsakh, Canton Ticino FA, Chameria, Cornwall, Elba Island, Ellan Vannin, Kárpátalja, Occitania, Padania, Raetia, Romani People, Sapmi, Sardinia, Sicily, South Ossetia, Székely Land, Two Sicilies, Western Armenia, and Yorkshire.
CONIFA says it “represents more than 730 million people around the world” and that they are “honored with massive recognition.”
Today CONIFA represents more than 730 million people around the world and are honored with massive recognition. Send an email to: email@example.com for more information.
— CONIFA (@CONIFAOfficial) September 26, 2022
Northern Cyprus twice CONIFA runners-up
The Turkish Cypriots will hope to lift the trophy next year, having twice come close. They were finalists in the last European Cup tournament in 2017, which they hosted, when they lost to Padaniya on penalties.
The Northern Cyprus team also missed out on silverware in 2018, when they were runners up to Abkhazia in the CONIFA World Cup in London in 2018. The team played in front of a 2,500 capacity crowd at Enfield Stadium, where they again lost in a penalty shootout.
The TRNC takes over the organisation of the European Championships from the French, who were due to host the tournament in Nice last year. However, the event had to be postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The inaugural CONIFA Euro Cup took place in Hungary in 2015. The tournament was originally meant to be hosted in the Isle of Man. However, an increase in the number of entrants resulted in the competition being moved to Székely Land, located in Hungary’s east.
CONIFA was founded on 7 June 2013, and organised its first World Football Cup in June 2014 in Ostersund, Sweden.
It describes itself as “a global acting non-profit organization that supports representatives of international football teams from nations, de-facto nations, regions, minority peoples and sports isolated territories.”
Image, top, from CONIFA European Cup 2017, which the TRNC hosted