ConiFA rejects Azerbaijan’s protest against participation of Karabakh in World Cup of unrecognized countries -
The Association of Football Federations of Azerbaijan (AFFA) has stated its protest to international soccer authorities over the first-ever ConIFA [Confederation of Independent Football Associations] World Cup of unrecognized states to feature a team from Nagorno-Karabakh.
According to Azeri media report, soccer functionaries in Baku are displeased with Nagorno-Karabakh’s inclusion among the participants in the tournament which is due to be held in Ostersund, Sweden on June 1-8.
Nagorno-Karabakh will be among a dozen teams participating in the first ever World Soccer Cup held for teams outside international soccer’s governing body, FIFA.
The tournament to be held in Ostersund, in central Sweden, in the first week of June will be hosted by the Sapmi people of Sweden, also known as Laplanders. It is to be held under the aegis of CONIFA, a global umbrella organization for all the football teams outside FIFA.
Here is ConIFA’s official responce to The Association of Football Federations of Azerbaijan.
Today we received a letter of the Azərbaycan Futbol Federasiyaları Assosiasiyası (AFFA) concerning our invitation of Nagorno-Karabakh to the World Football Cup 2014 in Östersund, Sweden.
The AFFA requested us to prevent the participation of Nagorno-Karabakh in our World Football Cup as the Republic of Azerbaijan claims the region Nagorno-Karabakh to be part of their country, which is supported by UN and the overwhelming majority of the political community.
In fact this is what ConIFA is all about: Giving unrepresented regions, people, minorities, nations and isolated territories the chance to represent them through football. Without judging on the political situation or the dependence or independence of Nagorno-Karabkah we will insist on our invitation, which we communicated to the AFFA in written form today.
The ConIFA World Football Cup and furthermore the ConIFA in general is about bridging the world and representing the unrepresented. It is a fact that Nagorno-Karabakh is self-controlled today and in particular, and this is one of the major facts for us, that the Artsakh Football Federation is neither a part of the AFFA nor any other FIFA member. This means that football in Nagorno-Karabakh is totally isolated from the world community and Nagorno-Karabakh players and clubs neither get the chance to enter any international matches nor play in international cups.
We think that people from each angle of the world should have the chance to play international football and to represent their culture! Thus we were left with no choice but declining the request of AFFA. Nevertheless we hope that AFFA respects our decision and we want to point out again that this decision should not be understood as a political statement or an offense against AFFA, the Republic of Azerbaijan or the Azerbaijani people.
We respect everyone equally regardless of his or her heritage, culture, religion or political views!
According to the organization’s official website, the 12 teams will include: Abkhazia (Georgia), Aramean Syriac Suryoye, Kurdistan, Tamil Eelam (Sri Lanka), Zanzibar, Darfur United, Ellan Vannin (UK), Quebec (Canada), Nagorno-Karabakh, Padania (Italy), Sapmi (Scandinavia), and Occitania (France-Spain).