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Jersey to make ConIFA debut in Germany?

Football | Published:

PARISHES OF JERSEY FC could make its international debut in as early as November, if sufficient funding can be found for a ConIFA World Cup qualifying tournament.

Padania, a region of northern Italy, lifted the ConIFA European Cup in 2017 after beating hosts Northern Cyprus in the final. Parishes of Jersey FC will not compete in the 2019 European Cup, but have set their sights on the World Football Cup in 2020. A qualifying tournament for that event is being planned for November 2018 in Germany Picture: JANA CAVOJSKA/CONIFA

Sascha Düerkop, general secretary of the non-profit footballing federation for independent associations, has confirmed that Island players are likely to be invited to Cologne later this autumn to battle for automatic entry into ConIFA’s next global event, which looks set to be staged in either America, Japan or Somaliland in 2020.

Jersey was accepted as the latest member of ConIFA last week, following calls from former Muratti player James Scott for greater playing opportunities.

Düerkop said: ‘From the beginning of ConIFA in 2013 we have tried to get Jersey and Guernsey involved because they are both natural fits for our organisation, so I am really pleased that this has finally materialised.

‘Jersey is part of England for football, but not politically, so there is obviously a gap.’

It is believed that Jersey officials are considering plans to play fellow ConIFA members Yorkshire in the coming months, but Düerkop suggests a trip to mainland Europe will also be on the cards before the end of 2018.

‘We hope to get them very active in the near future,’ he revealed.

‘We would invite them to a tournament in Germany, probably in November, which will be a qualifying tournament for the World Football Cup in 2020.

‘It will be a small tournament including four teams, with the winner qualifying for the World Cup. But all teams will earn qualification points.

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‘If teams are more active [in 2018 and 2019] they will earn more points and will be more likely to qualify.’

Around 50 independent regions from five continents are now affiliated with ConIFA, including Kiribati and Tuvalu from Oceania, Cascadia and Québéc from North America and Panjab FA and Tibet from Asia.

Somaliland and Cascadia [Seattle] have both offered to host the 2020 World Cup, while Tokyo is also being considered as a home tournament for United Koreans of Japan.

‘The hosts have to cover the accommodation, so the guest teams just have to get there,’ Düerkop added.

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Scott, the man behind Jersey’s application, is searching for sponsorship to cover those related travel costs – in addition to those associated with a potential trip to Germany in November.

Scott also confirmed yesterday that the Jersey Football Association have agreed to sign a memorandum of understanding with Parishes of Jersey, so that both parties can work together on logistics for fixtures and tournaments.

The team, which will represent the people of Jersey, rather than the Island itself, is being branded as a community football club which will play under the newly formed Jersey International Football Alliance.

JERSEY’S women could also benefit from the Island’s acceptance as a member of ConIFA, following news that the governing body is looking to recruit a women’s football director.

The voluntary body, which offers footballing opportunities to regions and nations not recognised by Fifa, has enjoyed impressive growth since its inception in 2013, and following the success of their third men’s World Cup in London this year they are now plotting an equivalent event for women.

ConIFA officials intend to organise a Women’s World Football Cup in either 2019 or 2020 as part of efforts to boost participation at all levels of the game, although it does remain unclear if Jersey will be included at that point.

As yet there are no plans in place to form a Parishes of Jersey women’s team.

Jason Fox

By Jason Fox
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