2018 CONIFA World Football Cup qualification

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2018 CONIFA World Football Cup qualification
Tournament details
Dates6 January 2016 –
Teams23 (from 1 confederation)
Tournament statistics
Matches played50
Goals scored189 (3.78 per match)
Top scorer(s)Tamil Eelam Panushanth Kulenthiran (6 goals)

The 2018 CONIFA World Football Cup qualification was the process to decide a number of the teams that will play in the 2018 CONIFA World Football Cup. This is the second tournament to feature a qualification process, following on from the 2016 qualification. The first qualification match played was on 13 March 2016 between the Tamil Eelam team and the team representing the Romani people, with the first goal scored by Tamil Eelam's Panushanth Kulenthiran.


The Confederation of Independent Football Associations (CONIFA) was founded in June 2013, as an organisation to represent football associations that are not eligible or choose not to join FIFA.[1] One year later, it held its first official tournament, the 2014 ConIFA World Football Cup, in Sweden, to which the twelve participating teams were invited. The success of this tournament led to the decision to make it a biannual competition, with continental tournaments taking place in between, the first of which was the 2015 ConIFA European Football Cup.

ConIFA published a set of qualification criteria for the World Football Cup ahead of its 2017 Annual General Meeting, setting out the various methods in which teams could qualify for the WFC.[2] This was subsequently revised into an official version for publication in June 2017.[3]

  • Host – Barawa
  • World Football Cup Holder – Abkhazia
  • Wild Card – CONIFA's Executive Committee were required to give a Wild Card place to a team that has not yet qualified for the WFC no later than 9 months prior to the start of the tournament - this was given to Western Armenia. The Committee also had the right to issue a second Wild Card if approved by CONIFA's Annual General Meeting, which occurred and was given to Tibet.
  • Qualification tournament – Any member of CONIFA had the right to request that a tournament it hosts be sanctioned as a qualifier, providing it is held between 1 January of the year of the previous WFC, and 31 December of the year before the next WFC, and consists of at least four CONIFA members. The request to have the tournament sanctioned as a qualifier must be submitted at least two months prior to the start, and must be approved by CONIFA's Executive Committee. Three such tournaments were held, the ConIFA Challenger Cup, the Hungary Heritage Cup and the World Unity Cup 2016.
  • Continental tournament – If a ConIFA continental championship is held after the previous WFC, then a number of its participants qualify for the WFC; the total qualifiers is worked out by the number of participants in the tournament divided by 4. Only one such tournament was held, the ConIFA European Football Cup 2017 at which both the winner and runner-up qualified.
  • Qualification points – The remaining places (which numbered 8) were distributed according to the final positions in the various CONIFA continental rankings according to their accumulated ranking points, distributed by a system which rewarded playing matches against both CONIFA and other opponents. Where two or more teams from the same continental zone had the same number of qualification points, qualification was be determined by the CONIFA World Rankings.

CONIFA is split into six continental zones, with the total number of places in the World Football Cup based on the number of CONIFA members from each zone. As of February 2020, the distribution of places for the WFC, dependent on the size of the final tournament, is:[2]

No of finals spots Europe Asia Africa Oceania North America South America
12 5 3 2 1 1 0[a]
16 8 3 3 1 1

[a]: There were no South American members of ConIFA at the time of the tournament
The first qualifying process was undertaken for the 2016 ConIFA World Football Cup, which saw a series of friendly matches and tournaments, together with the 2015 ConIFA European Football Cup, designated as qualifiers for the 2016 WFC.[4][5][6] However, this decision was taken at a late stage prior to the start of the European Football Cup tournament, only a year prior to the planned start of the 2016 WFC in Abkhazia. As a consequence, for its 2018 WFC tournament, ConIFA began designating planned friendly matches as qualifiers from the beginning of 2016, allowing a greater time for those teams achieving qualification to plan for the tournament. The first of these was the ConIFA Challenger Cup, held in Remscheid on 12 and 13 March 2016.[7]

Qualified teams[edit]

Team Region Method of
Date of
Previous best
 Tamil Eelam Asia ConIFA Challenger Cup winners 13 March 2016 2nd 2014 11th place (2014)
 Abkhazia Europe ConIFA World Football Cup Winners 6 June 2016 3rd 2016 Winners (2016)
Felvidek (Upper Hungary) football flag.png Felvidék Europe Hungary Heritage Cup winners 3 August 2016 1st N/A N/A
Westarmeniaflag.jpg Western Armenia Europe Wild Card 14 January 2017 2nd 2016 Quarter-Final (2016)
Flag of Ogaden National Liberation Front(2).svg Barawa Africa Host 8 June 2017 1st N/A N/A
 Tibet Asia Wild Card 8 June 2017 1st N/A N/A
 Kiribati Oceania Regional qualification 8 June 2017 1st N/A N/A
 Cascadia North America Regional qualification 8 June 2017 1st N/A N/A
 Padania Europe ConIFA European Football Cup Winners 10 June 2017 3rd 2016 4th Place (2016)
 Northern Cyprus Europe ConIFA European Football Cup Runners Up 10 June 2017 2nd 2016 3rd Place (2016)
Sikh Empire Panjab Asia Regional qualification 2 September 2017 2nd 2016 2nd Place (2016)
Korea United Koreans of Japan Asia Regional qualification 2 September 2017 2nd 2016 Quarter-Final (2016)
Matabeleland football flag.png Matabeleland Africa Regional qualification 2 September 2017 1st N/A N/A
Kabylie Kabylie Africa Regional qualification 2 September 2017 1st N/A N/A
Isle of Man Ellan Vannin Europe Regional qualification 2 September 2017 2nd 2014 2nd Place (2014)
Székely Land Székely Land Europe Regional qualification 2 September 2017 2nd 2016 Placement Round (2016)


ConIFA Challenger Cup[edit]

The ConIFA Challenger Cup was a two team competition held over two days. The two participants, Tamil Eelam and Romani people, each played a 45-minute match against a local select side from the town of Remscheid, where the tournament was being held, on the first day, before playing off against each other on the second.[8]

Hungary Heritage Cup[edit]

The Hungary Heritage Cup was a four-team competition held at the beginning of August 2016 in Szarvas, celebrating the heritage of various members of the Hungarian diaspora. The four teams featured two current members of ConIFA, together with two other teams, with the winner qualifying for the World Football Cup.

World Unity Cup 2016[edit]

The World Unity Cup was planned as a four-team tournament held at the end of August 2016 in Sutton. The competition was organised jointly by three ConIFA members representing displaced peoples, with the winner qualifying for the World Football Cup.[9]

Subsequent to the announcement, both Darfur and Ellan Vannin withdrew, and the tournament was reorganized as a three-team event, with the Barawa team replacing them.[10]

ConIFA European Football Cup 2017[edit]

The 2017 European Football Cup was announced in January 2017 with a total of eight teams due to take part. The winner of the competition was guaranteed a place at the World Football Cup.

Key to colours in group tables
Teams that advanced to the semi-finals

Group A[edit]

Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
 Northern Cyprus (Q) 3 2 1 0 9 0 +9 7
 Abkhazia (Q) 3 1 2 0 4 3 +1 5
 Kárpátalja 3 1 1 1 6 4 +2 4
 South Ossetia 3 0 0 3 2 14 −12 0
Source:[citation needed]
(Q) Qualified to the phase indicated.

Group B[edit]

Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
 Padania (Q) 3 2 1 0 4 1 +3 7
 Székely Land (Q) 3 1 1 1 5 4 +1 4
 Ellan Vannin 3 1 0 2 3 5 −2 3
 Upper Hungary 3 1 0 2 1 3 −2 3
Source:[citation needed]
(Q) Qualified to the phase indicated.

Knockout stages[edit]

Qualification points standing[edit]

The following is a list of games not part of sanctioned ConIFA tournaments for which teams have accrued qualifying points:α

10 December 2017 (2017-12-10) International FriendlyMatabeleland Matabeleland football flag.pngv Darfur

As of February 2020:[12]

Key: Qualification for WFC
Ranking Europe Asia Africa North America Oceania Qualification points
Opposition Factor (OF) Result Factor (RF)
1 Isle of Man Flag.jpg Ellan Vannin (52 pts) Unification flag of Korea.svg United Koreans of Japan (27 pts) Kabylia vlag.jpg Kabylie (30 pts) Flag of Cascadia.svg Cascadia (0 pts)

 Quebec (0 pts)

Flag of Kiribati.svg Kiribati (0 pts)

 Tuvalu (0 pts)

ConIFA Member = 3 Win = 3
2 Flag of Szekely Land.svg Szekely Land (39 pts) Panjab football flag.png Panjab (18 pts) Matabeleland football flag.png Matabeleland (30 pts) Other international opposition = 2 Draw = 2
3 Flag of Transcarpathian Oblast.svg Kárpátalja (36 pts) Flag of Kurdistan.png Iraqi Kurdistan (15 pts) Flag of Somaliland.svg Somaliland (30 pts) Any other opposition = 1 Loss = 1
4 Flag of Occitania.svg Occitania (34 pts) Flag of Ryukyu.svg Ryūkyū (3 pts) Islas chagos.png Chagos Islands (18 pts) Points for a single match = OF × RF
5 Flag of Greenland.png Greenland (32 pts) ArameanFlag.png Arameans Suryoye (0 pts)

Kokbayraq flag.svg Uyghurs (0 pts)

Lezgian flag.svg Lezgians (0 pts)

Rohingya flag.png Rohingya (0 pts)

Flag of Tibet.svg Tibet (0 pts)

Flag of Darfur.svg Darfur (5 pts)
  • Matches played in WFC do not count towards qualification points totals.
  • Only the first two matches between teams accrue points.
  • Additional matches are only considered if played as part of a tournament.
  • Only the ten matches where a team accrued the most points are considered.
  • If a member hosts a continental championship during the qualifying period,
    it receives additional points (number of participants × 3).
6 Flag of Donetsk People's Republic.svg Donetsk PR (21 pts) Flag of Western Sahara.png Western Sahara (2 pts)
7 Zastava Osječko-baranjske županije.png Delvidek (15 pts) Flag tz-sansibar 2005.png Zanzibar (0 pts)

Barotseland Royal Flag.jpg Barotseland (0 pts)

8 Flag of South Ossetia.svg South Ossetia (12 pts)
9 Raetia flag.jpg Raetia (9 pts)
10 Flag of Lugansk People's Republic.svg Luhansk PR (6 pts)
11 Flag of the Romani people.svg Romani people (6 pts)
12 Flag of the County of Nice.svg County of Nice (3 pts)
13 Flag of Western Armenia.svg Western Armenia (1 pt)
14 Flagge franken.svg Franconia (0 pts)

Flag of Helgoland.svg Heligoland (0 pts)

Flag of Monaco.svg Monaco (0 pts)

Flag of Artsakh.svg Nagorno-Karabakh (0 pts)

Sami flag large.png Sapmi (0 pts)

Skånska flaggan.svg Skåneland (0 pts)

Flag of Transnistria (state).svg Transnistria (0 pts)

ConIFA World Rankings
1.  Occitania
2. Sikh Empire Panjab
3.  Northern Cyprus
4.  County of Nice
5.  Abkhazia
6.  Kurdistan Region
7.  Greenland
8.  Arameans Suryoye
9.  Padania
10. Isle of Man Ellan Vannin
11.  Artsakh
12.  Quebec
13.  Zanzibar
14.  Sápmi
15. Korea United Koreans of Japan
16. Luhansk People's Republic Luhansk PR
17. Székelyzászló(SZNT).png Székely Land
Western Armenia Western Armenia
19.  Tamil Eelam
20.  Monaco
21. Felvidek (Upper Hungary) football flag.png Felvidék
22.  Romani people
23. Franconia Franconia
24.  South Ossetia
25.  Somaliland
26.  Chagos Islands
27.  Raetia
28.  Kiribati
29.  Darfur
30.  Tibet

:1. Teams that have already qualified no longer accrue qualification points

Wild Card[edit]

In May 2017, CONIFA announced on its website that five of its members had completed the necessary process to be considered for the WFC Wild Card place by the deadline of 2 May 2017. The wild card spot was decided at the CONIFA Executive Committee meeting, held during the European Football Cup in Northern Cyprus. The five teams under consideration were:[13]

Team Zone
 Darfur Africa
 Western Sahara
 Kiribati Oceania
 Tibet Asia

At the Executive Committee meeting, held in Northern Cyprus on 8 June 2017, Tibet were awarded the Wild Card place.

Top goalscorers[edit]

6 goals
5 goals
4 goals
3 goals
2 goals
1 goal


  1. ^ "About Us". CONIFA. Confederation of independent Football Associations. Retrieved 4 April 2016.
  2. ^ a b "CONIFA World Football Cup Qualification Guidelines" (PDF). conifa.org. CONIFA. October 2016. Retrieved 6 March 2017.
  3. ^ "World Football Cup Qualification System". CONIFA. Confederation of Independent Football Associations. Retrieved 29 June 2017.
  4. ^ "European Football Cup 2015". ConIFA. Confederation of independent Football Associations. 27 April 2015. Retrieved 4 April 2016.
  5. ^ "Ellan Vannin to host tournament at end of month". Yorkshire Evening Post. 13 May 2015. Archived from the original on 2015-07-15. Retrieved 4 April 2016.
  6. ^ "Benedikt Fontana Cup". ConIFA. Confederation of Independent Football Associations. Retrieved 4 April 2016.
  7. ^ "ConIFA Challenger Cup 2016". Facebook. 3 March 2016. Retrieved 4 April 2016.
  8. ^ "Remscheid Challenger Cup Day 1:". Facebook. ConIFA. 12 March 2016. Retrieved 4 April 2016.
  9. ^ "World Unity Cup". Retrieved 19 July 2016.
  10. ^ "World Unity Cup media pack" (PDF). World Unity Cup. iACT. Retrieved 24 August 2016.
  11. ^ "Decisions tournament management". 2016 Europeada. Archived from the original on 1 July 2016. Retrieved 25 April 2017.
  12. ^ "CONIFA 2018 World Football Cup Qualification". Archived from the original on 2017-06-29. Retrieved 2017-06-29.
  13. ^ Wheelock, Noah (9 May 2017). "Five Teams Vying for 2018 World Football Cup "Wild Card" Spot". ConIFA. Confederation of Independent Football Associations. Retrieved 31 May 2017.