Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Viva World Cup Draw

A version of this story was published in Soccer Business World and Play The Game.

A record six men's teams have entered next month’s Viva World Cup (VWC) for international teams not affiliated to FIFA.

The tournament that will be held in the Maltese island of Gozo for a week starting on May 29 2010 is the fourth staged by the NF Board and features the largest field so far.

The hosts will play with a side drawn from Gozo FC, which has previously played in the Maltese first division before slipping down the island’s pyramid, plus local teams, such as 2009/10 Gozo league champions Sannat Lions.

Gozo have been drawn with Padania, a team drawn from northern Italy that won the 2008 tournament and retained the trophy at last year’s third VWC. Padania have been linked by some critics of the tournament with the separatist Liga Nord political party but the NF Board insist that politics must play no part in the tournament.

Occitania, a team comprised of players who can speak the medieval language of Occitan found in southern France, Monaco and parts of Italy, make up a group with Gozo and Padania. Occitania staged the first three-team tournament in 2007 but have not taken part since. The other group features a side drawn from Iraqi Kurdistan that was runners-up last year and are expected to host the next tournament in 2012.

A team from the French region of Provence took part last year and has again entered. The other side in this group is a new entrant with a team representing the old Kingdom of the Two Sicilies with players drawn from southern Italy

The Scandinavian Sami tribe – known more commonly as Laplanders – won the inaugural tournament in Occitania in 2007 and staged the 2008 event but for the first time in the event’s brief history will not send a team in 2010.

The Sami are spread across Norway, Sweden, Finland and a handful in Russia. Traditionally, the Sami FA has been made up of teams from Norway and Sweden but a number of the old Sami FA board have quit since the Norwegian Leif Isak Nilut was replaced as president two years ago by Mikkel Isak Eiras of Norwegian club Kautokeino IL. Departures include Hakan Kuorak from Gällivare, home to many of the Swedish Sami and the hosts for the 2008 VWC. "Now the Sami FA are concentrated to Norway and not the whole Sami area," said Kuorak.

Monaco also entered the first tournament but have not entered since, while the side drawn from Swedean’s Aramean Suroye community that played in 2008 will not feature in Gozo either.

The draw took place in Gozo at the weekend but was disrupted by the cloud of volcanic ash that has forced the cancellation of many air flights across Europe. At the draw, Jean Luc Kit also returned to the role of secretary general of the NF Board after a brief hiatus.

The last final was screened on satellite TV channel Rai Sport and there was also coverage on a number of other TV stations, including Rai Sport, Canale 5 and Rai 3.

The NF Board hope to get similar air-time for this year’s event, which will be sponsored by Vellone Sports and held in the 4,000 capacity Gozo Stadium in Xewkija and the Sannat Ground, which has a new artificial playing surface. A women’s tournament was to feature Gozo, Padania and Corsica and be staged at the same time as the men’s event but the French controlled island will not now take part.


luca said...

Rai Sport is a public television channel, it is not part of the media empire of Silvio Berlusconi. Please change it.

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