Artsakh to Play in World Soccer Cup

The Artsakh National Soccer Team lined up for a match with Abkhazia, October 22, 2012.

STEPANAKERT—Nagorno-Karabakh will be among the twelve teams participating in the first ever World 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, 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.

There are more than 5,500 ethnicities around the world and hundreds of isolated regions that don’t have an international arena to play international football. CONIFA organizes the official World Championship for teams outside FIFA, continental championships, international tournament and cups combined with cultural events and youth exchanges.

According to the organization’s official website, the 12 teams will include: Abkhazia, Aramean Suryoye, Kurdistan, Tamil Eelam, Zanzibar, Darfur United, Ellan Vannin, Quebec, Nagorno-Karabakh, Padania, Sapmi and Occitania. The tournament will take place from June 1 to 8.

The Association of Football Federations of Azerbaijan (AFFA) protested CONIFA, the Swedish Football Federation, and FIFA regarding the participation of Artsakh.

The Artsakh National Soccer Team played in a similar competition in 2012 that included Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Trans-Dnester, Kosovo and Tibet as participants.

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