A new Guardian documentary follows the story of the Kurdistan team in football’s world cup for unrecognised territories
17 October ~ Over summer, football’s “rebel” world cup for stateless nations, minority ethnic groups and unrecognised territories took place. As covered by Kieran Pender in WSC 353, the 2016 World Football Cup was held by the Confederation of Independent Football Associations (Conifa), a non-profit organisation representing football associations excluded from FIFA.
Held in Abkhazia, which broke away from Georgia in a bloody secessionist conflict in the early 1990s, the event brought together an eclectic collection of competitors, including Somaliland (in the horn of Africa), a side representing the substantial Korean minority in Japan, and Kurdistan – an autonomous region of Iraq with separatist ambitions.
Kurdistand is a particularly interesting case and earlier this year one of their local teams, Amedspor, were targeted by the Turkish FA after they became a symbol for Kurdish workers to rally around in their conflict with the Turkish army, as described in WSC 350.
The Guardian have made a documentary charting the fortunes of the Kurdistan team through the 2016 World Football Cup, telling, as they describe it, a gripping story of triumph and failure, separatism and unity, nationhood and exile, against the backdrop of the most colossal events of our times.