Kernow to host Sápmi in World Football Cup qualifier

The Kernow Football Alliance are honoured to announce the hosting of a 2024 Confederation of Independent Football Associations (CONIFA) Men’s World Football Cup (WFC) qualifying fixture against FA Sápmi this summer.

Divided between Norway, Russia, Sweden and Finland, the Sámi people have a rich cultural and footballing heritage and hosted the inaugural CONIFA WFC, which celebrates it’s tenth anniversary in 2024.

Kernow, Cornwall’s representatives on the international footballing stage, will welcome Hakan Kuorak’s team to the county to begin a chain of events designed to celebrate each others history, traditions and identity.

The week will culminate in a one-shot opportunity to secure a place at next summer’s WFC, to be held in Kurdistan, with the action set to unfold at Falmouth Town’s Bickland Park come Sunday, July 16 (1.00 pm kick-off).

“What an honour it is for us to host this game in Cornwall,” Kernow FA chairman Jason Heaton told Cornwall Sports Media (CSM). “Negotiating to host this game felt like the right thing to do after all the cancellations and commitments over the last two or three years.

“A special mention has to go to Falmouth Town’s Graham Medlin and Andrew Westgarth for allowing us to use the pitch at Bickland Park. I think we can create a very special atmosphere there.

“FA Sápmi are long term friends and formidable opponents. They respect our reputation and won’t be making the 5,000 mile round trip for the scenery. They have featured in most of the major international tournaments since they hosted the first ever CONIFA WFC nine years ago. Their women’s team are current world champions. Football is intrinsic to their way of being.

“A one game golden ticket chance to qualify for a World Football Cup is extraordinarily exciting and a proper test. You can’t expect to win World Cups without playing big games.”

Kernow FA prior to their last outing, an 8-1 win over Cascadia in May 2021

The qualifying game, Kernow men’s first international fixture since May of 2021, is just one of many chances to express themselves on an international stage this summer a golden opportunity to show just how far Cornish football has come.

Continuing the trend, some five weeks prior, Kernow’s unbeaten inclusive team will travel to Northern Ireland following an invitation to compete in the prestigious George Best Community Cup, a competition designed to celebrate disability football.

“Everyone has had the opportunity to witness the rise and representation of the inclusive team and it has inspired us all,” continued Heaton. “As we have to raise the funds to host Sápmi, the inclusive players and staff have chosen to pay for their own travel and accommodation to this year’s George Best Community Trophy in Belfast.

“It is a competition we were invited to as a national representative side and the team to beat in the world. Seventy two teams from all over Europe will take part. The sheer will and determination to represent on the international stage means Kernow are already winners in my eyes.

“We have new kit, tickets sales, a focused and dynamic media and marketing team with film makers, punditry, photographers and social media handlers all in place alongside our partners CSM. All staff and players are hungrier than ever.

“I think Cornish football has a lot to be proud of right now. We all know the winners of trophies and leagues and we also know if it wasn’t for all the volunteers, committed family members, Cornwall County Football Association and the wider business community supporting the play on the pitch, we’d quite simply be on the streets. That’s my inspiration.”

“It’s the perfect marker going into our fifth anniversary year,” he concluded. “There’s unfinished business, we have all got a job to do and will continue to give our all for one.”

CONIFA, founded in 2013, is the football federation for all associations outside of FIFA

Adult tickets are to be priced at £9.00, which includes the entry of one accompanying child free of charge.

Concessions are charged at £7.00 each, including pensioners and children above the age of 12 that arrive unaccompanied by an adult.

Further details, including information on how to secure your ticket today, are available here.