ÖSTERSUND, Sweden—The Confederation of Independent Football Associations (ConIFA) has responded to the Azeri Football Association’s objections following Thursday’s announcement that Artsakh’s national soccer team will participate in the first ever World Cup held for teams outside international soccer’s governing body FIFA.
ConIFA acknowledged an Azeri letter of protest and responded with an open letter published on their website.
“This is what ConIFA is all about: giving unrepresented regions, people, minorities, nations and isolated territories the chance to represent themselves through football,” the response said.
“The ConIFA World Football Cup and, furthermore, ConIFA in general is about bridging the world and representing the unrepresented. It is a fact that Nagorno-Karabakh is self-controlled today and this is one of the major facts for us, that the Artsakh Football Federation is neither a part of the Azeri Football Federation nor any other FIFA member,” the letter continued.
The World Football Cup will be held in Ostersund, in central Sweden, in the first week of June and will be hosted by the Sapmi people, also known as Laplanders.
According to ConIFA’s official website, 12 teams will participate, including 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.