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The 'other' World Cup
by Amin George Forji
2006-11-19 10:32:40
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Nobody knows for sure how many countries there are in the world. The United Nations, said to be the 'world body' boasts of 192 states as members, while an organization such as the world's football governing body, FIFA, has 208 members, an even greater representation. The bottom line to acquiring membership to any of such organizations lies at the level of recognition.

Even within the same organization, some states are not recognized as such by other fellow members. There are scores of other breakaway states and territories in every continent, exercising enormous autonomy, and, in some cases, complete independence, but are yet to be recognized as proper states by the rest of the world. Still, they continue to assert their right to self determination.

With the rest of the world ever excluding them from participating in major forums, they have in recent years resorted to the other alternative: organize ourselves together. It seems as though birds of a feather really do flock together. For instance, as an alternative to the UN, these nations have created their own body known as the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO), which today boasts of 63 full members and an estimated population of 200 million people.

They have also created an alternative to FIFA, the so-called New Federation Board, abbreviated to NF-Board. It has its own version of the world cup known as the VIVA World Cup, composed of nations unaffiliated to FIFA.

Although it was founded in 2003 and scheduled to be played every two years, no tournament had yet been staged because of financial constraints. Despite several odds, the NF-Board has finally organized its inaugural tournament in Hyères-les-Palmiers, France and will run between 19-25 November.

Jean-Luc Kit, one of the men behind the VIVA World Cup, says that the whole idea is to get all nations involved in football, "Since the beginning, we wanted to create a world cup for non-FIFA members, simply for the pleasure of playing football. It is fantastic to see a team play internationally for the first time. There is a lot of emotion."

Sixteen nations were originally scheduled to participate in this year’s edition, but because each of these “nations” has to fund its own participation, only four have been able to make it. These are Monaco, Southern Cameroons, Lapland (Samiland) and host Occitania. The NF-Board says that 45 world broadcasters will be covering the entire tournament.

The 2006 Cup has been named after Nelson Mandela, who is said to have given his full blessing to the competition.


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