FIFA is supposed to control football, to set the rules and criteria for stadia used for international football but what about games in places that aren’t in the world game’s governing body?
FIFA doesn’t accept just any old place that applies: Greenland, Gibraltar, the
All these places have been shunned by FIFA but football is still played in all of them in stadia of all sorts of shapes and sizes.
In November 2006, the TRNC hosted a tournament for eight sides with the final played in the 28,000 capacity Atatürk Stadium (see photos) in the Turkish side of
Since that invasion and a declaration of independence nine years later, the TRNC has been a pariah nation recognised only by its Turkish conquerors.
The Northern Cypriots had a national team but could find no-one to play either abroad or at home in their Atatürk national stadium.
The Atatürk was built by Ozer Esenyl, the father of Ahmet Esenyel, who captained this national team that could not exist until the early part of this decade.
The Atatürk was opened by a match between Turkish sides Fenerbahçe and Sariyer and hosted other overseas teams, such as Neuchatel Xamax from
The national team has been more proactive in recent years and played a handful of games against fellow pariah nations, such as Kosovo. In the summer of 2007,
The game was cancelled after complaints by the Greek Cypriots so Luton played a training match at the Atatürk between themselves that was beamed all over the world. That coverage finally secured the KTFF a meeting with FIFA and the Greek Cypriots.
Whether the Atatürk meets FIFA’s grounds criteria if a breakthrough is secured remains to be seen.
The ground is easily the biggest in the TRNC but photos can be deceiving. There are floodlights and the ground probably does hold the 28,000 people that the KTFF claim but they will not all be sitting down on seats.
The seating is only in two areas either side of the half-way line even that is probably rarely stretched as Çetinkaya only attract 2,000 fans at best for a big game and the national team even less.
Will the Atatürk ever host a match between
Gibraltar applied to join FIFA in the late 1990s only for
UEFA could not let that happen so they changed their entry criteria so that all new members had to be in the United Nations.
FIFA found a different reason and cited the 3,000 capacity Victoria Stadium, which is situated on an isthmus of land between the British colony and the Spanish border town of
That isthmus also accommodates the territory’s airport, which opened to international flights from
The pitch at the stadium is the only one in
This was done years ago through the English FA as the GFA was an affiliate until falling out with the motherland as the row with FIFA and UEFA over membership progressed.
ASM compete in the French league and the government is concerned that if the Fédération Monégasque de Football joined UEFA then ASM may have to leave the French league so the FMF are tacitly accepted but officially unrecognized.
In 2006, the TRNC journeyed to southern
That is also why the 5,000 capacity Vanlose Stadium in
A team of exiled players from the Himalayan kingdom, which was invaded by
The Greenlanders have even more problems playing as the season in their Arctic island is just three months long and all the pitches are sand. As a result, all
Rejected by FIFA in the late 1990s,
Greenland is semi-autonomous from
Despite this, the Greenlanders are confident of laying the surface to host a four-team event in three to four years time then adding stands later on.