The Conifa European Cup – a tournament for classless European countries

The Conifa European Cup is a worldwide football tournament set up by Conifa which means Confederation Of Independent Football Associations, an institution representing an assembly of people that falls outside the regular FIFA sphere. It happens every two years with its first tournament in 2015.

This tournament takes place in Europe where football betting is a norm and part of the day-to-day life. And it’s the major Conifa tournament after the Conifa World Football Cup. The most successful team in the Conifa European Cup is Padania which has won the coveted title a number of 2 times.

The 2015 Conifa European Cup was the first airing of the Conifa tournament in Europe. At first three football association contested as hosts for the maiden event which includes Abkhazia, Nagorno Karabakh and Ellan Vannin. Ellan Vannin was announced as the host for the maiden event, on the Isle of Man. The group games and placements round were to be held in South East England and the semi-finals, third-place play-off and final would be played in Douglas. Unfortunately, in March during the tournament draw, it was announced that the tournament would no longer be hosted by Ellan Vannin and held in Isle of Man. It would be held by newcomers Szekely Land in Hungary.

Later the same year the qualification processing was adjusted and as such the top three in the competition would automatically qualify for the Conifa Football World Cup.

The 2015 Conifa European football cup took place from 17 June to 21 June, with two venues and six participating teams. It resulted in Padania becoming champions (and the team got automatic qualification) while County Of Nice and Ellan Vannin came in as runners-up and third place respectively. Felvidek came in fourth place.

The 2017 Conifa European Cup was the second finals of the Conifa European Football Cup

After the maiden edition of the Conifa European Football Cup in Hungary, the next edition of the tournament was  due to take place between 4th of June and 11th of June 2017 in Northern Cyprus. Eight teams were set to take part in the competition which was set to take place in four different locations.

The eight teams that participated are as follows:  reigning world football cup champions Abkhazia, host nation Northern Cyprus, Sapmi, Occitania, County of Nice, Ellan Vannin, Padania And Szekely. 

However, as was usual for Conifa some teams had to pull out of the tournament. Sapmi withdrew and were substituted by South Ossetia. County of Nice withdrew and were replaced by Felvidek. Occitania also withdrew and were replaced by Karpatalja.

The 2017 tournament was won by PADANIA after thrashing host nations Northern Cyprus on penalties. 4-0. SZEKELY came third.

The 2019 round of the Conifa European Cup would be held in Artkash in June. There will be 12 participating teams an increase from the eight teams of the previous year. The event would be held in three venues in three cities. Which are; Stepanakert (the capital), Askeren, and Martakert.

The 12 participating teams includes automatic qualification for Padania (2017 Conifa European Football Club) , and the host Artkash. There are four groups in which: Artkash, Sapmi And Luhansk PR make up group A and group B includes Abkhazia, County of Nice, and CHAMERIA. Group C also includes Padania, Donetsk PR, and Sardinia. while the last group consists of Group D: Szekely Land, Western Armenia And South Ossetia.

From the crowd-funding financial campaigns and direct involvement of Liverpool legend Bruce Grobbelaar to get the Matabeleland team (from west Zimbabwe) to London, to the political objections against the Tibetan team’s matches – most if not all of the Conifa members and European Cup participants have had significant obstacles to overcome in order to logistically get themselves to the tournament, something very few FIFA World Cup players ever have to think about.

With the 2019 Conifa European Championship and 2020 World Football Cup around the corner, as well as proposed humanitarian projects, the scale of Conifa’s ambitions appears to extend far beyond just this tournament. ‘We have a vision of creating a better world – bridging divides and creating a better planet where no one is a stranger,’ says Conifa’s president Per-Anders Blind. ‘Football is a tool for a higher purpose.’

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