Chagos Islands national football team

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Chagos Islands
Shirt badge/Association crest
AssociationChagos Football Association
ConfederationConIFA
Head coachJimmy Ferrar
First colours
Elo ranking
Current 210 Increase 2 (13 September 2019)[1]
Highest209 (June 2016)
Lowest213 (November 2018)
First international
 Chagos Islands 6–1 Raetia 
(Crawley, UK; 4 December 2011)
Biggest win
 Chagos Islands 6–1 Raetia 
(Crawley, UK; 4 December 2011)
Biggest defeat
 Ellan Vannin 14–0 Chagos Islands 
(London, UK; 13 August 2017)
ConIFA World Football Cup
Appearances1 (first in 2016)
Best result12th, 2018

The Chagos Islands national football team is a football team ostensibly representing the territory of the Chagos Archipelago in the Indian Ocean. However, this area, which falls under the administration of the British Indian Ocean Territory, is uninhabited save for the presence of a US military base on the island of Diego Garcia, after the United Kingdom evicted the local population between 1967 and 1973. As a consequence, the team in fact represents the Chagossian diaspora around the world. They are led by sussex based manager Jimmy Ferrar, who has previously managed at Oakwood, Crawley Down and Alfold where he won the Southern combination Div 1 for season 18/19.

Background[edit]

Chagos Islands and Tuvalu line up before their match in June 2018

In 2004, following the granting of Chagossians living in the UK the right to apply for a British passport, a group of islanders living near Crawley in West Sussex founded a governing body for football among their community, and the wider worldwide Chagossian diaspora, with a view to forming a national team. This resulted in the formation of the Union Chagossiene de Football, which joined the N.F.-Board, an international body for national football teams unable to join FIFA, in 2005.[2] Amongst the activities the UCF undertook was organizing a club side, Chagos Islands F.C., which played in the Crawley and District Football League until it was disbanded in 2010. With no immediate UK domestic outlet for their players to play, the UCF attempted to promote the side in the international arena, attempting to take a team to the 2010 Viva World Cup in Gozo. However, owing to the association's financial situation, and the wholly amateur status of the players, this was not possible.[2] Attempts to reform the club side in another local league in Sussex also failed, leading to the team training regularly, but not playing.

In December 2011, a friendly was finally arranged with the Raetia football team, another member of the N.F.-Board, who not only came to the UK, but also brought a full set of kit for the Chagossian team to use. The game was played at the ground of Oakwood F.C., for whom Chagossian straker Mervin Bhujan was a player, and who arranged use of the stadium, and led to a 6–1 victory for the Chagos Islands. This led to hopes that the team would be able to participate more fully in N.F.-Board events, but lack of finances again meant this was to prove impossible.[2]

In May 2012, a second match was organized, this time against Sealand. This was a first "away" game for the Chagossians, played at the home of Godalming Town F.C. in Surrey, which was used by Sealand for their home games, and resulted in a second consecutive win for the Chagos Islands.[3] However, in spite of successfully staging a pair of games, the UCF was forced to fold.

In February 2013, a new organization, the Chagos Football Association, was formed to continue the management of the Chagos team.[4] The first match organized under the new body was a game against Sealand, taking place in February 2014 at Godalming, and which saw the Chagossians suffer their first defeat.[5][6] A third game was quickly organized, this time taking place at the home of Crawley Town F.C., in May 2014, ending in a 1–1 draw.[7]

In February 2014, around the same time as playing their second fixture against Sealand, the CFA joined ConIFA, in an attempt to find more regular games.[8] The team played its first official fixture against another member of ConIFA when they turned out for a game against Somaliland in London in November 2014, again ending in a 1–1 draw.[9] In 2015, the CFA announced its intention to attempt to qualify to participate in its first tournament, the ConIFA World Football Cup, via ConIFA's recently announced qualification process, by participating in a tournament hosted by Raetia, the Benedikt Fontana Cup.[10] Originally planned as a three-team tournament, this altered into a two-legged play-off between the hosts and the Chagossians. However, just before the tie was due to take place, the Chagossians were forced to withdraw.[11] This did not stop the ambition of the CFA to participate, with a fundraising effort to help the team make it to the 2016 tournament in Abkhazia announced in October 2015.[12] To this end, the team played another friendly against Panjab in December 2015, which saw the team suffer its heaviest defeat 4–1.[13]

In January 2016, the Chagos Islands were announced as one of the 12 participants in the 2016 World Football Cup.[14] The opportunity to participate in a first ever overseas tournament led to a drive to raise the money necessary to allow the team to make the journey to Abkhazia.[15] The chagos Islands were successful in raising the necessary funds and took part in the 2016 ConIFA World Football Cup, however the team failed to win a single game and suffer 2 of their biggest defeats in the group stage, 9–0 loss to Panjab and 12–0 loss to Western Armenia, the team subsequently lost 3–2 to Somaliland and lost on penalties to Raetia after drawing 3–3 in their final game of the tournament.

World Cup record[edit]

Year Position P W D L F A
ConIFA World Football Cup
Sápmi 2014 Did not Enter
Abkhazia 2016 12th 4 0 1 3 5 27
Barawa 2018 Did not qualify
Total Best: 12th 4 0 1 3 5 27

International results[edit]

  Win   Draw   Loss

4 December 2011 (2011-12-04) FriendlyChagos Islands 6–1 RaetiaTinsley Lane, Crawley
9 May 2012 (2012-05-09) FriendlySealand 1–3 Chagos IslandsWeycourt, Godalming
23 February 2014 (2014-02-23) FriendlySealand 4–2 Chagos IslandsWeycourt, Godalming
5 May 2014 (2014-05-05) FriendlyChagos Islands 1–1 SealandBroadfield Stadium, Crawley
31 October 2014 (2014-10-31) FriendlySomaliland 1–1 Chagos IslandsColes Park, Haringey
20 December 2015 (2015-12-20) FriendlyPanjab 4–1 Chagos IslandsCentral Ground, Sutton Coldfield
9 August 2017 (2017-08-09) Niamh Challenge CupBarawa 3–0 Chagos IslandsLondon
13 August 2017 (2017-08-13) Niamh Challenge CupEllan Vannin Isle of Man14–0 Chagos IslandsLondon
8 April 2018 FriendlyBarawa 4–1 Chagos IslandsColes Park, Haringey

Selected International Opponents[edit]

Opponents Matches Win Draw Loss GF GA
 Abkhazia 1 0 0 1 0 9
 Barawa 3 1 0 2 4 9
 Cascadia 1 0 0 1 3 6
 Ellan Vannin 1 0 0 1 0 14
Kernow 1 0 0 1 3 10
 Matabeleland 1 0 0 1 0 1
 Panjab 1 0 0 1 1 4
Parishes of Jersey 1 0 0 1 2 9
 Raetia 2 0 1 1 9 4
 Sealand 3 1 1 1 6 6
 Somaliland 2 0 0 1 3 4
 Surrey 1 1 0 0 3 2
 Tuvalu 1 0 0 1 1 6
 Western Armenia 1 0 0 1 0 12
 Yorkshire 1 0 0 1 0 6


References[edit]

  1. ^ Elo rankings change compared to one year ago. "World Football Elo Ratings". eloratings.net. 13 September 2019. Retrieved 13 September 2019.
  2. ^ a b c Stubbs, Ed (30 April 2012). "The Chagossian Dream". In Bed With Maradona. Retrieved 13 April 2016.
  3. ^ Geary, Patrick (7 May 2012). "Ralf Little gets an international cap for Sealand". BBC Sport. BBC. Retrieved 13 April 2016.
  4. ^ "The CFA Was set up in Feb 2013". Facebook. 14 April 2016. Retrieved 14 April 2016.
  5. ^ "Sealand to meet Chagos Islands on February 23rd". Sealand Government. 30 January 2014. Retrieved 14 April 2016.
  6. ^ Baines, James (7 March 2014). "I Went to an International Football Match Between Two Non-Countries". vice.com. Retrieved 14 April 2016.
  7. ^ "Chagos Islands 1 v Sealand 1". Many Games I Have Seen. 6 May 2014. Retrieved 14 April 2016.
  8. ^ "Chagos Islands join ConIFA ahead of Sealand game". Non-Fifa Football Updates. 19 February 2014. Retrieved 14 April 2016.
  9. ^ "SL Diaspora Football Team Draw with Chagos Island in a Charity Match". Somaliland Sun. 6 November 2014. Retrieved 14 April 2016.
  10. ^ "Chagos ersetzt Panjab". FA Raetia (in German). 22 May 2015. Archived from the original on 29 May 2015. Retrieved 14 April 2016. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  11. ^ "Mit Bedauern muss die FA Raetia mitteilen..." Facebook (in German). Raetia FA. 14 June 2015. Retrieved 15 June 2015.
  12. ^ "ConIFA World Cup". Chagos Refugees Group. 24 October 2015. Retrieved 14 April 2016.
  13. ^ "Panjab hits 4 against the Chagos Islands". Panjab FA. 20 December 2015. Retrieved 14 April 2016.
  14. ^ "#Abkhazia2016 participants". ConIFA. 9 January 2016. Retrieved 15 April 2016.
  15. ^ Watson, Paul (27 March 2016). "Chagos Islands national football team dreaming of glory as FIFA outcasts meet for ConIFA World Football Cup this summer". Sport 360°. Retrieved 15 April 2016.

Media related to Chagos Islands national football team at Wikimedia Commons