Abkhazia to Host Breakaway Football World Cup in 2016

For the first time Georgia’s breakaway region Abkhazia will host World Football Cup in 2016 for teams of unrecognized nations.

The decision was made by the Confederation of Independent Football Associations (ConIFA) after the Hungarian embassy in Moscow refused to issue visas for Abkhaz players to travel to the European Championship 2015 in Hungary, due to protests from the Georgian Foreign Ministry and the Georgian Football Federation.

On their official Facebook page ConIFA announced that the host of the 2016 World Football Cup will be breakaway Abkhazia.

“After some silence following the tournament we now want to publish our views on the visa refusals to two of our honorable members, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and at the same time we want to look with you on all the amazing things that await us in 2016”, ConIFA website reported.

“As Abkhazia has been a member of CONIFA almost since the beginning and is quickly increasing their Football Federation with more and more friendly matches taking place in Abkhazia and its capital city Sukhum, we are sure that Abkhazia is a perfect choice to enjoy a perfect football and cultural experience,” ConIFA stated.

President of the Football Federation of Abkhazia, Jemal Gubaz, highlighted that Abkhazia welcomes the chance to host the World Cup for national teams of countries not recognized by FIFA.

"We will be glad to accept representatives of ConIFA who intend to travel to Abkhazia to agree on the details of the tournament," Gubaz told Russian news agency "Interfax".

Gubaz noted that representatives of ConIFA have already visited Abkhazia, and the championship will give a new impetus to the development of the sport in Abkhazia.

“We need to hold the championship on a large scale. Teams are coming to us, starting the process of development of international relations. Our children need to play football, and we will do everything for its development,” Gubaz told "Interfax".

ConIFA holds the World Cup and European Cup. Sweden hosted the first World Cup in 2014. The team of breakaway South Ossetia took fourth place in the championship, while the team of Abkhazia did not rise above the quarterfinals.

ConIFA was founded in 2013 and brings together teams of football (often from unrecognized states and autonomous regions within states), which are not officially included in the FIFA.

Photo: View of Sokhumi, the capital of the breakaway Abkhazia. Photo by Marco Fieber.

Tamar Svanidze

10 July 2015 19:13