Listening to the ever-excellent Football Weekly podcast from Guardian Unlimited the other day, we stumbled across the story of the Tibetan “national” team playing against Padania this week in Milan. If you’re thinking “how can Tibet have a national team?” or “what the hell is a Padania?” then you’ve clearly never heard of the Viva World Cup. Frankly, you probably wouldn’t be the only one.
The Viva World Cup is a football (or soccer, if you speak American) competition, organised by the New Federation Board, for nations that don’t technically exist. The inaugural competition was held in 2006 in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and the idea is that it will take place every two years. This year’s finals will be held in the Swedish town of Gällivare in Sápmi (or Lapland as it’s more commonly known), the “nation” that triumphed at the last Viva World Cup finals.
Tibet’s qualifier will see them play Padania, a region of northern Italy, in an old Roman amphitheatre with hopes of reaching the finals in Sápmi, where games will be played under the “midnight sun” in July. Things don’t look too good for the Tibetans however, last time the two teams met Padania won 13-2. We’d love to bring you more information and form guides etc. but, unfortunately, details about the tournament and the teams are scarce at best. Oh, and if that last Padania-Tibet score has you wondering exactly how competitive a tournament this is, we can tell you that Sápmi lifted the ‘Nelson Mandela Trophy’ in 2006 after beating Monaco 21-1 in the final. Yep, 21-1.
Viva World Cup official site (not the most informative site on the interweb)
Wikipedia: Viva World Cup