Izvestiya -- The football authorities of the Republic expects that, after the Kosovo, the functionaries of FIFA will allow them to hold friendly matches.
The leadership of the Republic of Abkhazia is preparing an appeal to the International Football Federation (FIFA) to allow its national team to hold friendly matches with team-members of FIFA.
Until yesterday, the last team to receive similar approval from FIFA was the team of the Faroe Islands, which was received under the auspices of the International Football Association in 1988. This week, at a meeting of the executive committee of FIFA, the team of Kosovo was also allowed to hold friendly matches at the official level. Last year, the Kosovars had already appealed to FIFA by making such a request, but they were refused.
The president of the Football Federation of Abkhazia (FFA), Dzhamal Gubaz, spoke to Izvestija about the situation regarding the possibility of holding friendly matches by the Abkhazian team with the world’s national teams.
“I, as head of the FFA, will soon go to Moscow and then to the FIFA headquarters in Switzerland to raise the issue of holding friendly matches involving the national team of our country,” said Gubaz. “I think that Abkhazia has a real chance to obtain such permission.
Fields and infrastructure allow us to receive teams and to conduct such games. We hope that FIFA's ‘credo’ that football is outside of politics will be confirmed exactly in this case! In addition, in this issue, we are counting on the support of the Russian Football Union. We would like to see the Abkhazian team playing in one of the Russian divisions, even if it is in the second. Talks about this have been going on a long time - it's time to get down to business. I plan to talk about it with the Sports Minister Vitaliy Mutko.
In Switzerland, we shall appeal to the head of FIFA, Joseph Blatter, requesting support for the development of Abkhazian football.
The Head of Department for Information Policy for the Russian Football Association, Nikolay Komarov, has expressed doubt that the Russian Football Union will be able in this matter to provide all possible assistance to Abkhazia.
“We do not know what Kosovo did in order to get FIFA to allow them to hold friendly matches. Perhaps, the authorities of the Republic went to the headquarters of the organisation and somehow reached agreement,” Komarov told Izvestiya. “I think that Abkhazia too should do the same.”
“It is clear that Kosovo received permission to hold a friendly matches, not merely by expressing a desire to do so. This alone would not have been enough,” was the answer the press officer of UEFA, Sergey Borisov, gave to Izvestiya.
“For example, in Europe, Gibraltar has for a very long time been trying to achieve independent status. But despite the support of the British and their increasing importance in football’s governing bodies, because of the categorical refusal of the Spaniards, Gibraltar has until now achieved nothing. Apparently, Kosovo, secured the support of an authoritative national federation. Theoretically, Abkhazia and South Ossetia can organise friendly matches, on condition if FIFA immediately gives the understanding that no sanctions will be taken against teams willing to hold such games with the republics.”
The Vice-President of the Football Federation of Abkhazia, former defender in Soviet, CIS, Ukrainian and Russian teams, Akhrik Tsvejba, shared his view with Izvestiya on the possible holding of friendly matches by Abkhazia.
“Last year, former president of the Football Federation of Abkhazia, Leonid Dzjapshba, had filed an application to FIFA. The present Head of the Federation, Dzhamal Gubaz, is currently dealing with this,” commented Tsvejba. “And such an application has already been prepared. Kosovo has already succeeded in achieviing such a resolution. I think that we too shall succeed.”
“To submit an application to FIFA from Abkhazia the decision of the President of the Republic and the President of the country's football federation,” continued Tsvejba. “Both he and the other are, of course, interested in the development of sport in the republic.”
Today, under the auspices of FIFA, only teams from countries belonging to the UN can play. Teams defending the colours of non-UN members enter into association with the NF-Board (Nouvelle Federation - Board). This football-organisation was founded in 2003.
Elena Novikova (May 23, 2012)
This article was published by Izvestiya and is translated from Russian.