Tuvalu is basically my new favorite country on earth, you can read a few things I’ve written about the place here, and here. I am most famous for, aside from travel, liking street food, and drinking, I also like football. Tuvalu needs no help from me on the first two, but their relationship with football is a funny one.
Basically there are a lot of sovereign nations (UN members lets say) that do not have football teams. Some such as Monaco are because they have a kick ass club team, others such as the Vatican City (get ready) are because they can’t deal with crosses (see what I did there), and are constantly accused of dirty tackles in the box (too jazzy). Others such as Nauru, and the Republic of the Marshall Islands are just too small, and not all that into football.
Tuvalu though are different. Tuvalu have been allowed membership into Oceania (the regional football confederation) from where they take part in regional competitions. Oceania is recognized by FIFA, creating a unique scenario where they are part of a body recognized by FIFA themselves, but not FIFA. In fact they are members of CONIFA, but I’ll get more onto that later.
The reason FIFA won’t let them join is due to their stadium (which is a bit shit), and their lack of hotel rooms (which is simply not true). Obviously FIFA could not possibly afford to take any of its Swiss Gold and support the aspirations of the Tuvaluans, but that is a whole other bag of vegetables.
The anti-FIFA though is CONIFA, who actively aim to help nations like this, and they are a group YPT are very much proud to be affiliated with.
With the help and support of the global football community, who knows what the future could hold for the footballers of Tuvalu. Tuvalu at the world cup?
Stranger things have certainly happened….