A World Cup with a twist is looking build on the success of their inaugural tournament

County of Nice won the first event in 2014

BY Daniel Kelly 12:11 Monday 30 May 2016, 12:11 30 May 2016

Somaliland and Sapmi in action during the tournament. Picture by: ConIFA

The first major international football tournament of the summer is already underway and it does not include the Republic of Ireland, France, Spain or any major footballing nation.

Padania, Raetia and the Chagos Islands are instead some of the big teams taking part in the ConIFA World Football Cup in Abkhazia. The country considers itself an independent state, after a bloody split from Georgia.

ConIFA was set up in 2013, to allow teams compete that are not affilated to FIFA or any continental governing body such as UEFA or CONCACAF. They held their first World Cup in 2014 in Sapmi, Sweden.

The County of Nice defeated Ellan Vannin in the final after a penalty shoot-out. Neither team are competing in this year's event.

Speaking to The Times, the association's President Per-Anders Blind said the tournament was "a peace project". 12 teams take part in this year's tournament, the same number that competed in 2014.

The tournament began on Sunday afternoon, with hosts Abkhazia, beating Chagos Islands 9-0. Pre-tournament favourites Padania lost 2-1 to Northern Cyprus.

It may not have the glamour of next month's Euro 2016, but all 12 teams taking part are hopeful on winning their own World Cup on June 5th.

You can follow the progress of the tournament on ConIFA's official website for the tournament.


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