Kernow FA remain resilient despite European Cup disappointment

The team behind Kernow Football Alliance have revealed the sudden postponement of this summer’s eagerly-anticipated European Football Cup ‘has left us all in a state of shock’.

A letter, attributed to co-founders Jason Heaton and Andrew Bragg and sent to the Confederation of Independent Football Associations (CONIFA), was made public on Tuesday (May 31). 

It follows news from organisers CONIFA, released just 16 days before the tournament was due to get underway, that the competition would ‘not be held’ as planned, with the County and Municipality of Nice having withdrawn as hosts, citing a letter from the prefecture prohibiting the event.

While reiterating that all pre-tournament preparations were in place and detailing the subsequent ‘pain’ caused by the news, the statement confirmed the desire of Kernow to ‘climb the mountain’ and ‘go again’ in order to represent Cornwall and its people on the international stage. 

Kernow’s response read as follows: “First and foremost, we (Kernow Football Alliance) must pay our highest respects to the players, families and staff in their efforts towards making it possible for Kernow (Cornwall) to be represented at the highest level, on the international stage.

“We play to win. Our preparation in respect of this ancient nation and the people who make it great was absolute. No stone was left unturned, monies were raised, flights were paid for with a squad worthy and capable of lifting the trophies. Everything was ready to go, including the new kit, documentary film makers and massive support.

“The cancellation has left us all in a state of shock. This sudden change of fate has led us to realise again that we won’t be swayed in our objectives to see Kernow (Cornwall) recognised as a nation and provide a platform for the players and staff, that have committed their lives to the beautiful game, a chance to fully express their passion and desire to be at their best and open the door for future generations.

“The pain we feel is universal across all represented nations affected by the decision to cancel. The official cause: ‘geopolitical reasons’. Our understanding is that there are people concerned that the strength gained from self representation is not acceptable. This means that we have a unified understanding with the teams who were committed to the tournament – these being: County of Nice, Two Scillies, Sardinia, Scilly, Sapmi, Szekely Land, Elba Island, Artsakh, Padania, Western Armenia, Carpathia and the wider global community.”

CONIFA is the international governing body for association football teams not affiliated with FIFA

An 18-man playing squad, manager Darren Gilbert and a full backroom team, as well as many supporters, were just days away from boarding flights to Nice in anticipation of Kernow’s inaugural appearance at an international football tournament, due to have been held between June 3-12.

However, following much discussion and research into alternative options, it was felt there was no choice but to postpone the competition for a second time, with the outbreak of covid-19 having already put paid to the original event in 2021 as well as the World Football Cup of 2020 in North Macedonia. 

The letter concluded: “We say that this has strengthened our resolve and improved our international relations as a response to this test. To stand together and work closer than ever, to bring our cultures to the fore in celebration and fine sporting spirit.

“We are ready, we are ready to go again, to climb the mountain, to swim the ocean and to find the island. This is the attitude of all the staff at Kernow Football Alliance and the associated represented nations.

“Trying to reclaim associated costs in relation to tournament preparations for those attending the competition is now paramount.”

  • Cornwall Sports Media understands that Kernow FA could make their international bow at the proposed CONIFA No Limit European Football Cup to be held later this year in Sabbioneta, Italy.

[Featured image: Tom Howe / Cornwall Sports Media]