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Parishes XI to compete in Europe... cash permitting

Football | Published:

PARISHES OF JERSEY FC officials remain optimistic about taking their players to an international tournament in Germany next year, as they plot a route to the ConIFA 2020 World Cup.

Football: First ConIFA fixture: Parishes of Jersey v Yorkshire. Michael Weir. Picture: JON GUEGAN. (22896103)

The Island side, who joined the independent association for non-Fifa nations in September, have been invited to Düsseldorf to play in a four-team competition in March and are now carrying out advanced talks with potential sponsors to help fund the trip.

The winner of the tournament will be given automatic qualification to the 2020 World Cup, which is rumoured to have Seattle and Tokyo as contenders for hosting duties.

‘We have been invited to Germany and fingers crossed we can get sponsors on board,’ said PoJ FC coach James Scott. ‘The players are aware that if we don’t find the sponsorship early in the new year then the trip will not be possible, but we’re doing all we can.

‘This tournament is a big opportunity with the fact that the winner gets a spot for the ConIFA World Cup in the summer of 2020, and financially it would be better for us to get to this tournament and win it. If we didn’t go, or don’t win, then we’d have the added pressure of finding a number of games later next year to get ourselves up to an appropriate ranking to qualify for the World Cup.’

Scott has also revealed that his team could welcome another squad to St Peter in February, following their winning debut against fellow ConIFA members Yorkshire in October, but insists his work will not impinge on local football.

‘I refuse to make the players choose between their club and playing for PoJ FC,’ he explained. ‘We’ll be going to the Jersey Football Combination’s delegates meeting next week to update the clubs.

‘I very much see us as an add-on to the existing framework and I don’t want to impact on it. If it is the case that certain league fixtures on that weekend in March can’t be moved then we will not take up the invitation to go to Germany. It’s not fair on the players or the clubs.

‘We are close to finalising a home game in mid-February, but it won’t be confirmed until the team have booked their flights. And if it does go ahead, it will be played on a Sunday to avoid a clash with the league.’

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Discussing the sponsorship packages – 12 in all, to match the number of parishes – PoJ FC president James Blower said: ‘Based on the interest so far from people, and initial commitments, we are confident we’ll be able to participate in the necessary fixtures to qualify for the World Cup.

‘We have put together packages to take us through the next couple of years, ranging from those for smaller companies and individuals to the headline sponsorship.

‘The early interest suggests we’ve pitched at the right level, and we’re optimistic that we will secure the funds we need.’

PoJ FC were initially included in provisional plans for a tournament in Cologne in November, but the event did not materialise.

Jason Fox

By Jason Fox
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