CONIFA World Cup

CONIFA & The 2018 World Cup (London) 

As the Football League season draws to a close over the next month most football fans in the UK will start to focus on this summers FIFA World Cup taking place in Russia. But just how many of those fans will be aware that we have a football World Cup taking place in London this summer.

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Confederation of Independent Football Associations (CONIFA) is an organisation that was set-up to provide countries, sub-national entities, stateless people and ethnic minorities the chance to play international football. CONIFA was founded on the 7th June 2013 and is a football federation for all associations outside FIFA, it’s a non-profit organization that supports representatives of international football teams.

As some of the members are not able to play in their own country or indeed don’t have the facilities to host the competition, the CONIFA organising committee can choose a host but then also make a decision as to where the competition will be held.  This is the case for this summer’s competition with Barawa being named the hosts and London staging the event.

The CONIFA World Cup will run from the 31st May until the 9th June 2018, were there will be sixteen teams taking part in the competition in four groups. There will be forty matches in the competition which will be held at a number of non-league clubs in the London area.

GROUP 1 – Barawa, Ellan Vannin, Tamil Eelam, Cascadia
GROUP 2 – Abkhazia, Northern Cyprus, Felvidek, Tibet
GROUP 3 – Padania, Székely Land, Tuvalu, Matabeleland
GROUP 4 – Panjab, United Koreans in Japan, Western Armenia, Kabylia

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As Sascha Düerkop (CONIFA General Secretary) arrives in London this week to promote the World Cup, I asked him some questions about the governing body and this summer’s London World Cup.

INTERVIEW

What are the main difference’s between the governing bodies CONIFA & FIFA?

CONIFA is driven by the players and the supporters and they have all the power within the organization,while FIFA is more and more business-driven. That leads to a situation where FIFA is actually executing power on it’s members and Confederations, while we understand ourselves as a service team for our members. However, we are not strictly anti FIFA. We just would appreciate if they’d open up in all directions (membership, transparency, change, etc)

The governing body CONIFA was formed in 2013 how is it going to grow the game worldwide?

It’s going enormously well and in a breathtaking speed. We now have nearly fifty members from five continents and can proudly look back to four major international tournaments already. We’re also more and more taken serious by the media, supporters and institutions like the EU, OSCE or UN, which is fantastic. I now regularly hear “Oh yes, I’ve heard of that” when I introduce CONIFA to someone, which is enormous achievement after only five years and that happens in Russia, UK, Germany or Zimbabwe alike!

CONIFA is not just about football, its about bringing people and countries together whilst also breaking down barriers how do you plan to do this in a challenging world?

As you say, the world is challenging. But we’re happy to help people around the world to take that challenge. It’s always an uphill struggle, but we’re also getting more used to and more trained on many fields and were already able to help people without any documents to travel half the world, which makes us incredibly proud.

The 2018 CONIFA World Cup is being held in London, could you tell us about this summer’s competition and what the UK football fans should expect in terms of quality on show? 

This summers competition in London will bring together things that belong together, but are often seen as a contradiction together: non league football and international football! We’ll celebrate the many non leagues across London we work with, while providing a professional stage to the forgotten nations we work with. In terms of quality, the range is huge! Teams like Abkhazia or Northern Cyprus mostly field semi or full pros, including many players with Europe League experience, while others, like Barawa, will mostly field Sunday league footballers

In terms of this summer’s World Cup which teams and players should the UK football fans be looking out for (top teams & top players) and why you think they are the best?

The teams to watch out for in my opinion are Northern Cyprus, Western Armenia and Abkhazia on paper they having the stronger squads. But as previous tournaments have shown a lot of other factors play a huge role, such as making use of the whole squad, fitness, preparations and form.

However, I bet we will have a few surprise’s in the competition and I’m personally I think that Matabeleland and Szekely Land might surprise a few. The best individual players will come from Western Armenia & Abkhazia in fact Abkhazia has a player with more than 80 caps for Syria and a couple of Russian Premier League players, whilst Western Armenia will field at least 3 Armenian national team players.

The county of Yorkshire in the UK is now holding international football matches and have recently joined CONIFA, do you think Yorkshire will be a good addition to the CONIFA membership?

Yorkshire missed out on this World Cup but are already a proud member of CONIFA. It doesn’t really matter if I think it’s good or not, as such decisions are mostly taken by our current members, who unanimously voted for the inclusion of Yorkshire.  It’s a great team and fantastic people around it and we’re very pleased to have them on board.

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Why did the committee decide to hold this summer’s World Cup in London?

That was part of the sponsorship agreement with Paddy Power, as we lacked a host for the 2018 World Cup Paddy Power approached us to sponsor the competition, with the condition that we hold it in the UK or Ireland.  Having four teams based in and around London and given the massive non league scene in London, it just seemed perfect to come to London.

A large amount of money from FIFA and TV Rights goes to the professional clubs in the UK (Premier League & Football League) with the non-league clubs (Grassroots) struggling for revenue. As a number of players for the UK Based CONIFA teams are from the non-league clubs (Grassroots) how will the World Cup assist the players and clubs raise their profiles and revenue’s? 

For some of the countries and players just playing in the stadiums will promote them and their club. CONIFA is of course paying a rent to use all of the venues, which will of course contribute to their financial situation.  In addition to that we will celebrate each and every club and help them to get them known around the world.

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Joey Barton Appointed Fleetwood Town Manager

Joey Barton Named Fleetwood Town Manager

Fleetwood Town have this afternoon confirm that they have reached an agreement with former Burnley midfielder Joey Barton to become the clubs new first team manager on the 2nd June 2018.

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The vastly experienced midfielder who excelled during his top-flight playing career with the likes of Manchester City, Queens Park Rangers, Marseille and most recently Burnley will take charge of the club’s first team this summer after signing a three-year deal.

Barton who is currently serving a ban from football for betting on football league games will take over from John Sheridan who has been working on a short term arrangement until the end of the season with the aim of keeping us in Sky Bet League One.

Speaking about the appointment Joey Barton said, “I’m very excited by the challenge and the project at Fleetwood Town.  It’s a club that I’ve known for a long time and a chairman I already have a very good relationship with.  My first job in management was always going to be a big decision, for me and I’m delighted with the opportunity.  I’m joining a club with big ambitions and I’m looking forward to getting started on the 2nd June.

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Scarborough Athletic v Brighouse Town

Scarborough Athletic 4 v 0 Brighouse Town (Evo-Stik North League)

Scarborough Athletic welcomed Brighouse Town to the Flamingo Land Stadium this weekend, as the high-flying promotion chasing Seagulls looked to collect three points against a struggling Brighouse Town side currently twenty-first in the Evo-Stick North.

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Steve Kittrick made a number of changes with Luke Dean and Chris Dawson returning to the starting XI after being rested against Radcliffe Borough last week, whilst Tom White and Jamie Price were the players to make way.

The first ten minutes of the game were fairly even as Boro struggled to keep possession in midfield, having won two of their last three games it was Brighouse that were passing the ball better, but without creating any real efforts on the home sides goal.

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Scarborough took the lead on thirteen minutes, following an excellent run down the right-wing by Max Wright who in turn found Michael Coulson on the edge of the visitors area, he turned his marker before drilling the ball into the bottom corner beyond young keeper George Clarke to make the score 1-0.

Despite going behind, Brighouse responded well and went close to levelling the score midway through the half, a flick on by Gabriel Johnson left James Hurtley six yards out with only Taylor to beat but he sent his powerful header high over the crossbar.

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James Walshaw could have doubled the lead with a powerful downward header but it was brilliantly blocked on the line by a combination of the Brighouse keeper and a couple of defenders to keep the score at 1-0.

Action soon switched to the other end though as Brighouse continued to heap pressure on the Boro defence and carve out some good chances. The best of which fell to Gabriel Johnson as he seized on a collision between Tommy Taylor and Josh Snowden, the ball bounced out to the striker but his shot was blocked on the line by Bailey Gooda.

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The collision left Snowden with a back injury and the defender had to be stretched off only to be replaced by Tom White, this led to Sam Hewitt moving to centre-back whilst Nathan Valentine moved to right-back and White slotting into the middle of midfield.

The changes meant it was a nervy finish to the half and in added time at the end of the first half, after a poor clearance Brighouse striker Thomas Haigh sent a deft lob in that Tommy Taylor was forced to scramble back to turn over his own crossbar.

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The second-half started much the same as the first with both sides battling it out in midfield with chances at either end.  Just after the hour mark, Tom White was brought down inside the penalty area and the referee pointed to the spot. It was Michael Coulson who coolly stepped up to convert the penalty on sixty-three minutes to make it 2-0.

Once the second goal was score, Scarborough came to life and played some excellent football in the second-half.  Brighouse still had their moments, but in truth they never looked like a side that could score goals and kill off the match.

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On eighty-one minutes, James Walshaw rose highest to plant a firm header into the top corner from a Michael Coulson corner, to give the home side a 3-0 lead. Walshaw made it look easy as he timed his run in to perfection to steer past goalkeeper George Clarke.

Just eight minutes later, substitute Jorome Slew rounded the scoring off in spectacular fashion as the striker bent a superb strike around the goalkeeper and into the top corner, to make the final score 4-0 to the home side.

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Steve Kittrick’s side will now face two difficult games on the road, the first at Colwyn Bay on Tuesday evening before a trip to Lancashire to face Colne Football Club.  Boro now sit in an automatic promotion place, second in the league with just a fortnight of the season remaining.

Match Details

Scarborough Athletic – Taylor, Hewitt, Merris, Valentine, Snowden, Gooda, Dawson, Dean, Walshaw, Coulson, Wright (Subs) White, Morgan, Sugden, Slew, Beadle

Brighouse Town – Clarke, Field, Hall, Hammond, Hurtley, Thompson, Crawley, Jones, Johnson, Haigh, Marriot (Subs) Heeley, Nadidle, Riley, Griffin, Grimshaw

Goals – (Scarborough Athletic) Coulson (13, 63p), Walshaw (81), Slew (89)

Attendance – 1,361

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Notts County Looking to Sign Ex-Claret

Joey Barton Set For Football League Come Back

Notts County manager Kevin Nolan wants to sign former Newcastle team-mate Joey Barton in the summer.  The former Burnley midfielder was suspended by the Football Association in April 2017 for breaching betting rules and is banned until 1st June 2018.

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Nolan, who played with Barton for two and a half years at Newcastle from January 2009, expects several clubs to be interested in the former Manchester City, QPR, Marseille, Rangers and Burnley player.

The Magpies are fifth in League Two and on course to make the play-offs, with an outside chance of gaining automatic promotion. They are just four points behind the third-place side Wycombe Wanderers with four games left but Wanderers have a game in hand.

Barton, who won one England cap was banned after being found to have placed 1,260 bets on football matches over 10 years, was released by Premier League club Burnley at the end of last season.  He has successfully appealed an 18 month suspension which was reduced by almost five months meaning he can return to action next season.

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Speaking about Joey Barton signing Kevin Nolan said, “Me and Joey are good friends, he is a top player, a top lad and I really get on well with him.  However is probably going to want to play at a higher level. If that doesn’t come to fruition then I am sure there will be a conversation in the summer.  We will always be in touch so let’s see what happens.”

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Settle Cricket Club Out to Defend Championship

Settle Cricket Club – 2018 Season

Settle Cricket Club last season celebrated the clubs 175 year by winning the Ribblesdale Senior Cricket League, whilst finishing as runners-up of the 20/20 competition. So as the new season gets underway in just nine days time, the players will take to the field led by club captain Tom Davidson to defend their title, starting with an away fixture on the 21st April 2018 at Salesbury Cricket Club.

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There will be three new faces at Marshfield this summer with all-rounder Alan Lones, pro golfer and son of former Clitheroe Cricket Club professional Bryan Lones. Cambridge University graduate Alex Gould and Eddie Keighley who is back playing after a shoulder injury ruled him out last season.

The club will also welcome back overseas player Sadrian Ward for a second season at Marshfield, the young all-rounder has been playing for the famous Carlton Cricket Club in the Barbados Cricket League. Sadrian is a strong top order batsman and an excellent seam bowler, who is currently coached by former West Indies International Collis King back in Barbados. King has personally overseen his development and progress following a stellar 2017 season with Settle Cricket Club.

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Settle Cricket Club start the new 2018 Ribblesdale Senior Cricket League away from home against Salesbury Cricket Club on the 21st April 2018, a full fixture list is available via the following link – http://www.settle.play-cricket.com/website/web_pages/81591

The Ramsbottom Cup see’s the club drawn in Group 1 with Brinscall, Cheery Tree, Salesbury and Euxton Cricket Clubs, whilst in the 20/20 competition the club has been drawn in Group 2 with Baxenden, Padiham, Read, Whalley & Ribblesdale Wanderer Cricket Clubs.

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There has been a number of changes around the ground during close season with the club house being extended and a new block of residential apartments has been built on the boundary.

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James Ferguson Resigns As Guiseley Chairman

Guiseley AFC Chairman Stands Down

Guiseley AFC have this morning confirmed that club Chairman James Ferguson has stood down from his role with immediate effect.  He arrived at the club in June 17 taking over the reins from long-serving Phil Rogerson.

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Mr Ferguson, is leaving the club to focus on an opportunity to set up his own company which has prevented him from being able to dedicate the amount of time that the role requires. The club will announce a new Chairman in due course.

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Steeton AFC v Littletown FC

Steeton AFC 3 v 2 Littletown (West Riding County League Cup Quarter-Final

Roy Mason and his squad welcomed Littletown Football Club to Summerhill Lane for the Quarter-Finals of the West Riding County League Cup as they looked to go all the way in another cup competition after reaching the final of the Keighley Cup last month.

Steeton started the stronger of the two sides and opened the scoring on nine minutes, as striker Ben Clarkson latched onto an excellent through ball from Andy Holden before slotting the ball pass the goalkeeper to make it 1-0.

Two minutes after the goal, a mix-up in the home penalty area led to a last ditch tackle by Matthew Wilson which brought loud appeals for a penalty from Littletown players and staff but referee Mr Clough allowed play to continue.

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The visitors’ continued to press for an equaliser but once again the defending from the home side was excellent, skipper Michael Rhodes, Steve Pearson, Matthew Wilson and goalkeeper Joe Mash kept the visitors out with another fine display.

A second goal did come a few minutes before the interval when Ben Clarkson beat the goalkeeper to the ball outside his area, before chipping it into an empty goal following an excellent pass from Andy Holden.

In the last seconds of the first-half, Andy Holden’s goal bound free-kick was superbly tipped around the post by the Littletown keeper to make the half-time score 2-0.

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Early in the second-half Joe Mash made a world-class double save driving low to his right with a strong hand to keep out the first effort, before getting back to his feet quickly and saving the second effort which was a save across the goal from Matthew Bugg.

Steeton then went close to adding a third, when Andy Briggs had two efforts at goal the first was an excellent through ball from Toby Jeffrey was collected by Briggs but his effort went just over the visitors crossbar.  His second effort following an understand layoff by Ben Clarkson smashed against the visitors crossbar and bounced to safety.

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Steeton extended their lead on seventy minutes, when substitute Jonah Smith collected the ball in the visitors area before scuffing the ball into the bottom right-hand corner of the goal to leave the keeper no chance and make the score 3-0.

Littletown pulled a goal back on seventy-four minutes, as striker Joe Jagger stepped up to send a powerful free-kick past Joe Mash into the bottom corner, this was his twenty-third goal of the season and made the score 3-1 to the home side.

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On seventy-eight minutes, the visitors added a scored goal as Matthew Bugg slotted the ball past Joe Mash from the edge of the area to set up an exciting finish to the match.

The visitors increased the pressure on the Steeton goal in the final ten minutes of the match as Littletown looked for an equaliser.  Roy Mason made a late change bringing on Joe Park for Ben Clarkson to tighten up their defence as the home side held on to win 3-2.

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Steeton AFC will now take their place in the West Riding County League Cup Semi-Final against the winner of D.R.A.M Community and Route One Rovers game which had to be postponed this weekend due to a water-logged pitch.

Match Details

Steeton AFC – Mash, Rhodes, Scott, Wilson, Pearson, Jeffrey, Eastwood, Holden, Clarkson, Briggs, Richardson (Subs) Smith, Park, Hird

Goal(Steeton) Clarkson (8,37), Smith (69) (Littletown) Jagger (74), Bugg (78)

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