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Monday, June 4, 2012


The first half of June 2012 sees the start of a number of international tournaments; the 2012 OFC Nations Cup, held in Honiara, capital city of the Solomon Islands, has already reached half-way through the group matches, while the 2012 European Championship begins on 8/6/12. The Euros will, understandably, attract most of the media attention; however, alongside Euro 2012 and the OFC Nations Cup, another international competition is about to start - the 2012 Viva World Cup.

Many readers of this blog may know nothing about the competition or the organisation running the event - the NF-Board (New Federation Board), which was founded in Brussels in 2003, and its principal aim was to provide an opportunity for those nations, regions and communities which found themselves outside the jurisdiction of FIFA to compete against each other, both in friendlies and international competition. At the moment, 31 organisations are either full, associate or provisional members of the NF-Board.

The 2012 version of the Viva World Cup will be the fifth such tournament in the competition's history, and will take place in the Iraqi-controlled region of Kurdistan, running from 4/6/12-9/6/12. Nine teams will take part in total, and some of them will not appear very familiar to mainstream football fans. There will be a new name appearing on the trophy at the end of the tournament, as the winners of the four previous tournaments, Sápmi (representing the Sami people of Lapland) and Padania (a region in Italy) will not be competing due to various reasons.

Group A sees the hosts take on the Western Sahara and Occitania, which represents almost the whole of southern France, plus slithers of Italy and Spain, where the ancient Occitan language (better known in English as Langue d'Oc) is spoken. Most of the Western Saharan team has been drawn from within refugee camps in Algeria and in areas of the former Spanish colony which are not under Moroccan control (Morocco invaded the area in the late 1970s and had taken over most of the region by 1987), but held by the Polisario movement, which advocates an independent Western Sahara. Kurdistan, meanwhile, are expected to do well in their first VIVA World Cup.

One team which will not be totally alien to those following world football is Zanzibar, and they, like Kurdistan and Western Sahara, will be making their début in the competition. Zanzibar, of course, has long competed in the CECAFA (East and Central African Championship), quite often with distinction, until 2005, when the Zanzibar FA, founded in 1926, was removed from the CAF in 2005, only for it to be granted associate membership some time later. However, while Zanzibar's clubs can compete in African club competitions, the national team is unable to participate in FIFA-sanctioned tournaments, hence their membership of the NF-Board. They are to be found in Group B along with the ancient Swiss region of Raetia, and Tamil Eelam from north-eastern Sri Lanka.

Group C sees Northern Cyprus, the French region of Provence, and another team drawn from refugees, Darfur United, pit their wits against each other. Darfur United's players are all based in refugee camps in the east of neighbouring Chad, and the team was created late last year by i-ACT, an American aid organisation. Sixteen players make up the Darfuri squad, and the Darfur United website described the team as, well, more than a team: "Not only is Darfur United a team, it is also a movement – a movement to bring hope, inspiration, and joy to the displaced people of Darfur..When news of the project reached the camps, one representative said 'Now we are a part of the world.'"

Northern Cyprus, meanwhile, has had its own football governing body since 1955, but this has been more or less isolated from the outside world since the Turkish army's invasion in 1974. Turkish clubs played Northern Cypriot clubs in the early years of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, but this stopped after FIFA started handing out fines to TFF member clubs who travelled to Northern Cyprus (a country recognised only by Turkey) in the late 1980s.

The tournament will take place in and around the city of Erbil, home to over a million people and the Franso Hariri Stadium (also known as the Erbil International Stadium), which holds around 28000 people and is the second largest stadium in Iraq. It, and stadiums in Sulaymaniyah and the town of Pirmam, will be hosting matches during the tournament.

The group winners and the best-placed runner-up will go forward to the semi-finals, while the other teams will play in a series of classification matches and play-offs.

Please see below the fixture-list for the 2012 Viva World Cup. (Kindly note that there will also be a friendly match between a NF-Board Selection and an unknown team, which, your correspondent assumes, will be the team which finishes last in the competition and thus will not be taking part in the classification round. However, this may not actually be the case, and all will hopefully be explained in an article to follow at the end of the tournament.)


4/6/12 20:00 Kurdistan : Western Sahara (Erbil)
5/6/12 17:00 Western Sahara : Occitania (Pirmam)
6/6/12 17:00 Occitania : Kurdistan (Sulaymaniyah)


4/6/12 22:00 Zanzibar : Raetia (Erbil)
5/6/12 20:30 Raetia : Tamil Eelam (Erbil)
6/6/12 21:30 Tamil Eelam : Zanzibar (Erbil)


4/6/12 00:00 Northern Cyprus : Darfur United (Erbil)
5/6/12 22:30 Darfur : Provence (Erbil)
6/6/12 23:30 Provence : Northern Cyprus (Erbil)


7/6/12 18:30 (Venue TBA)
7/6/12 20:30 (Venue TBA)
8/6/12 10:30 9th-place team (??) : NF-Board Selection (Venue TBA)
8/6/12 17:00 (Venue TBA)


8/6/12 21:30 (Venue and semi-final draw TBA)
8/6/12 23:30 (Venue and semi-final draw TBA)


9/6/12 10:00 (Venue TBA)


9/6/12 11:00 (Venue TBA)


9/6/12 16:00 Loser SF1 : Loser SF2 (Erbil)


9/6/12 18:00 Winner SF1 : Winner SF2 (Erbil)


Franso Hariri Stadium, Erbil (28000)
Sulaymaniyah Stadium, Sulaymaniyah (15000)
Ararat Club Stadium, Pirmam (capacity N/K)


2006 Sápmi
2008 Padania
2009 Padania
2010 Padania
AUTHOR'S NOTE: The fixture-list was as taken from the VIVA World Cup website (stadium locations were researched by the author, so any errors are my responsibility!):

Thanks and appreciation go to Oswaldo Ugarte, Pablo Aro Geraldes and an anonymous representative of the Seleccion Occitana de Fotbòl.
FOOTBALL BLOGGING AWARDS 2012: In an act of unapologetic, not to mention unashamed, self-promotion, Pat's Football Blog has nominated itself in the Male category of this year's Football Blogging awards, which will take place in Manchester in July.

To vote via Facebook, kindly go to the Football Blogging Awards page. To vote via Twitter, tweet to @TheFBAs, with your username and #Male (category). There are several categories, and it's up to you who you vote for, of course, but a vote for Pat's Football Blog will always be very welcome. After all, it isn't your everyday blog..

1 comment:

  1. It is getting interesting, we are near of the next world cup and It looks like it will be more competitive than previous years.