The World Cup is coming to London this summer – the CONIFA World Football Cup, that is.
With FIFA’s equivalent being taken to Russia – where fans who are black, gay, or just English are not welcome – the organisation representing teams outside the international elite is hosting its World Cup in London for the first time.
The tournament will mark the return of super-ref Mark Clattenburg to English football, having left to head up referring in Saudi Arabia in 2017.
CONIFA, who have teamed up with Paddy Power for the tournament, are the confederation of independent football associations – i.e. the rebels and wildcards of world football who FIFA refuse to recognise. And have announced that their World Football Cup will take place in London, kicking off on May 31st.
We are delighted to announce that we are sponsoring the CONIFA World Football Cup in London this summer.
— Paddy Power (@paddypower) March 21, 2018
Competing teams will include the exiled people of Tibet, the Zimbabwean region of Matabeleland, and, erm, the tax haven of the Isle of Man.
The organisation’s newest member is Yorkshire, who officially became a country when they were recognised by the body in January.
Matches will take place at various grounds in London, including Sutton United’s Gander Green Lane, with the showpiece final to be held at an as yet unnamed venue.
All tickets cost just £9 to ensure accessibility for football fans of all backgrounds.
Matches will be streamed live on our Facebook page, while the tournament will be pioneering a new ‘green card’ rule – inspired by GAA’s black card legislation – which will be used for the first time in football history. And is already VAR better than FIFA’s newest rule for Russia 2018.
While the tournament anthem has been recorded by the biggest band in the world (in 1996) Right Said Fred.
Spokesman Paddy Power said: “We love the idea of a tournament which represents the underdog, and sticks one up FIFA.
“English fans have little or no incentive to go to Russia, so we thought we’d give them an alternative right on the doorstep.
“No millionaires, no prima donnas, just decent lads who are every bit as patriotic as every other international player.”