Alternative World Cup finds its winner
Padania completed a hat-trick of successes in the Viva World Cup for non-FIFA nations at the weekend but the latest tournament in the Maltese island of Gozo was a far lower profile affair than last year.
In 2009, Padania hosted the tournament in a blaze of publicity, including live TV coverage of some games, but Sunday’s 1-0 win over Kurdistan – a repeat of last year’s final – was not screened after Kurdish television decided against screening the tournament.
This year’s VWC did see the highest number of entrants with six teams playing and sponsorship from Vellone Sports and Bank of Valletta.
The tournament was also staged without interference by the Malta Football Association and a full international took part for the first time with Danijel Bogdanovic of Sheffield United and Malta captaining hosts, Gozo.
The tournament also featured Provence, Occitania – a side of players, who can speak the medieval language of Occitan - and Regno della due Sicilies representing the ancient kingdom of southern Italy.
The first VWC was held in 2006 in southern France and nine different teams have played in the four tournaments but Monaco, a team representing Sweden’s Aramean Suryoye minority and the Sami tribe from Scandinavia did not travel to Gozo.
The Sami played in the first three tournaments but missed out after internal disputes between the Swedish and Norwegian elements of the tribe.
The next VWC will be in Kurdistan in 2012 after the organisers, the New Federation Board pushed back the tournament by a year to try and attract teams from the Island Games football tournament, which will be held in 2011 on the Isle of Wight.