The FIFA World Cup may be the biggest sporting event in the world, but from a geopolitical perspective there’s another tournament worth following: the Confederation of Independent Football Association World Football Cup, which held its first games at the Jämtkraft Arena, in Östersund, Sweden from June 1st through 8th. Established in 2013, ConIFA is an organization that unites the football teams of nations, counties, and provinces that would like to be autonomous, but are not officially recognized.
The stadium, which looks less than packed in the tournament’s pictures, can fit about 6,000 spectators—just the size it would need to host all of ConIFA’s Facebook fans. Tickets were sold for a mere €11 ($15) (free for under 15)—a paltry sum compared to the thousands handed over for matches in Brazil.
As of now, 20 clubs are members of the association. They pay a yearly membership fee of €50 ($67) for individual players and €500 for clubs (individual supporters can join too for €25). Some teams, like Kurdistan, had previously participated in the Viva World Cup, another non-FIFA world cup for unrecognized nations that was last held in 2012.
At ConIFA, Europe was the most represented continent, with 13 teams, while no team hailed from Oceania or South America. North America has two member teams, Quebec and the northern region of Cascadia (between US and Canada)—Texas and Vermont don’t appear to be terribly interested in soccer.