Soccer: Western Armenia at FIFA Outsiders’ World Cup in Abkhazia

A team of Western Armenia is among the 12 sides that are going to participate in the second World Cup for associations outside international soccer’s governing body, FIFA.

The championship is scheduled to open with fanfare in the Georgian breakaway republic of Abkhazia on May 28.

The tournament to be played under the umbrella of the Confederation of Independent Football Associations (ConIFA) – a body representing nations, dependencies, unrecognized states, minorities, stateless peoples, regions, and micronations not affiliated with FIFA – brings together teams from such internationally unrecognized or partly recognized countries as Abkhazia, Northern Cyprus, Kurdistan, Panjab, as well as obscure territories and entities like Chagos Islands, Padania, Raetia, Sapmi, Somaliland, Székely Land and United Koreans in Japan.

Matches in four groups of three teams will start on May 29. The tournament in the Abkhaz capital of Sukhumi will end on June 5.

Western Armenia is included in Group A and its rivals are hosts Abkhazia and Chagos Islands (a group of seven atolls in the Indian Ocean south of the Maldives).

Two years ago, a team of Nagorno Karabakh participated in a similar tournament played under the aegis of ConIFA in Ostersund, Sweden. The Karabakhi soccer players then failed to place high in the 12-team tournament (finishing ninth among 12 participants), but still managed to register two signal victories – over the teams of Darfur (12-0) and Laplanders (5-1) – in so-called Placement matches.

For complete information about the tournament go to its official website at http://worldfootballcup.org/ or ConIFA’s official website at http://www.conifa.org/en/