BAROTSELAND: What does the Confederation of Independent Football Association membership mean?

15 July 2020
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CONIFA, the Confederation of Independent Football Associations, is the football federation for all associations outside FIFA, with members from all the continents of the world.

Among its North American members is the French-speaking Canadian region of Québec and Cascadia representing the Cascadia region of the US and Canada.

From Europe, CONIFA has members such as Monaco, Western Armenia and Northern Cyprus, among many others, while some of the members from Asia are Tibet, Kurdistan and Western Papua to name but a few.

Hawaii and some Australian first nations form part of the CONIFA membership from Oceania while Mapuche and Rapa Nui are among those drawn from South America.

CONIFA was founded on the 7th of June 2013 and organized its first World Football Cup in June 2014 in Ostersund, Sweden, to support representatives of international football teams from nations, de-facto nations, regions, minority peoples and sports isolated territories share in the joy of playing international football.

Although Barotseland is yet to have a national football squad that would participate in the continental and world tournaments under CONIFA, Barotseland gained its membership in July of 2017.

How will Barotseland benefit from CONIFA?

As above stated, CONIFA contributes to the enhancement of global relations and international understanding using sports.

CONIFA’s main goal, as explained by its General Secretary, Sascha Düerkop, is to give football outsiders, those overseen by FIFA or left behind by their mother country FAs, the chance to win their place on a global stage and advance football-wise and personally.

“Most of our member’s players do not have the chance to regularly play international football or are not valid to play for any of the FIFA members. Others, even if there is a theoretical opportunity to play for a FIFA member FA, have the feeling to represent a foreign country than their own. Therefore, CONIFA gives them the chance to play for the entity they feel part of in the bottom of their hearts.”

However, CONIFA is more than football, as Düerkop further explains,

“We do have many values and aims off the football pitch. One of the main reasons CONIFA exists is that we want to bridge the world and bring people together from all over the world. This should be done in a way which leaves all politics behind. We do not judge if our members deserve political independence. We want to put them all on the world map by showing their members and people to the world and give them the chance to represent themselves. Politically we are 100 per cent neutral and the only thing we do is making aware of our members. This leads to people thinking or educating themselves about the countries/minorities/regions they come from. Each player, in that sense, is an ambassador of his nation or people.”

Does CONIFA help members to join FIFA?

“Yes and no," says Düerkop. "We do whatever is possible to help our members. This, of course, includes support in FIFA membership application processes. However, until today none of our members requested that help actively, though, as only a few of our members currently wish to join FIFA, and their applications have been filled before they joined CONIFA.”

As can be seen above, Barotseland, which is also a CONIFA member nation alongside its African brothers and sisters from Zanzibar, Western Sahara, Somaliland, Matebelaland, Durfar and many others from the continent and the rest of the world, stands to benefit greatly through their fraternal and international interactions with others using sports.

Barotseland should, therefore, get organized so that the Kingdom can have a national team that would participate in the forth-coming continental and world tournaments after the COVID-19 pandemic.

For more on CONFA, visit http://www.conifa.org

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