The self-governed region of war-torn Somalia was handed staging rights for ConIFA’s fourth global competition earlier this year but that decision has now been reversed due to ‘logistical and technical issues’.
ConIFA – an independent association for over 50 non-recognised states and minority groups around the world – welcomed Parishes of Jersey FC onto its membership list in 2018 and will hold its next agm here in 2020. However, despite entering a qualifying tournament in June, representatives from the Island club ruled out any possibility of travelling to Somaliland as the British Foreign Office advises against all but essential travel to that part of Africa.
The latest development, which follows ConIFA site visits to Somaliland to assess security concerns and the facilities, paves the way for a potential entry by PoJ should they earn enough ranking points to qualify.
‘We don’t know the reasons for the decision but obviously from our point of view it’s a positive,’ said PoJ FC manager James Scott. ‘It’s a game-changer, to be honest.
‘Our main aim when we started was to get to the 2020 World Cup but having it in Somaliland put a block on that.
‘Obviously ConIFA are now on the hunt for other members to host the event so we will wait and see what materialises. We’d very much like to take part in it but we’ll have to see where it’s going to be held and see if we can get our lads on the plane.
‘It would be great if we could take little old Jersey to a World Cup.’
Tokyo and Seattle – home to United Koreans in Japan and Cascadia respectively – were also on the radar to host the event, although both withdrew their interest before Somaliland was selected.
More in Tuesday's JEP.