The world is coming to London this June for CONIFA

Between 31 May and 9 June, CONIFA (Confederation of Independent Football Associations) is holding the 2018 Paddy Power World Football Cup in London

CONIFA is a politically neutral, charitable NGO run by volunteers with the desire to be ‘FIFA for teams outside FIFA’ – but with a focus on transparency and equality. CONIFA’s aims are simple: we want everyone in the world to be able to enjoy and play football – no matter their race, religion, gender or politics.

In total, CONIFA now represents over 320 million people worldwide and amongst the more recognisable teams coming to London are Tibet and Panjab, whose diaspora community in the UK totals over 800,000 people and can expect a warm welcome when they play their games at Slough Town FC.

Some of the teams amongst the 16 qualifiers have endured massive hardships to compete. The Kabylia team from Algeria had to play their games in secret for fear of police reprisals and when they qualified their FA president was arrested. Matabeleland in Zimbabwe are using football to repair the wounds of genocide. Tuvalu, a tiny Pacific island, will travel over 9,000 miles to get a chance to discuss the fact their island will be one of the first nations to be rendered uninhabitable by global warming.

All in all, the World Football Cup will celebrate football’s ability to bring people together and to do so in London – a city made great by its multiculturalism and openness. Games will be taking place across the city and surrounds, everywhere from Bromley to Carshalton to Haringey to Enfield.

CONIFA is looking for volunteers to assist as team liaisons where language skills would be of great advantage – French and Spanish are most welcome, but anyone who is proficient in Tibetan would also be great! We are also keen to encourage language students to attend our games and enjoy the unique atmosphere of an English football stadium at a time of year when no other football is being played, but we can guarantee a fun, friendly atmosphere and a range of cultural celebrations running alongside the games, so even those who don’t like the beautiful game can enjoy a day out.

Any queries can be directed to paulchriswatson@gmail.com, the lead organiser for the tournament and more information can be found at www.conifa.org.