BY Kalsang Rinchen
His Holiness the Dalai Lama being presented the jersey of the Tibetan national football team, file photo
Dharamsala, January 26 – The Tibetan National Sports Association participated in a meeting of football playing nations not registered with the world football governing body FiFA in Barcelona on January 22. The meeting was called by NFB (Nouvelle Fédération-Board), unofficially Non-FIFA-Board, which invited the TNSA to participate in the meeting.
The TNSA secretary Kalsang Dhondup could not attend the meeting personally owing to lack of funds, and requested Ven. Thupten Wangchen of the Casa Del Tibet, Barcelona, to represent TNSA at the meeting that was participated by representatives from Italy, France, Norway, Kurdistan, Spain and other small nations. This was NFB’s 7th annual general meeting.
Ven Wangchen did an audiovisual presentation about the TNSA, giving an in-depth information about the Tibetan sports body’s functioning and its history. He talked about the tournaments and matches that the Tibetan national football team had participated in the past and the selection processes for the team. The representatives at the meeting were impressed by the strides the Tibetan football team has made in the past considering the strict financial constraints, said Ven. Wangchen.
NFB is made up of 32 members that represent nations, dependencies, unrecognized states, minorities, stateless peoples, regions and micronations not affiliated to FIFA. The NFB seeks to work with FIFA to be a temporary organisation for football teams before they acquire membership in FIFA.
The NFB believes in the “right to play competitive football” for its members and organises VIVA World Cup, which took place for the first time in November 2006, in Occitania. The Tibetan national football team has been invited to play in the next VIVA World Cup to be held in Kurdistan in 2012. Kalsang Dhondup of TNSA said he was delighted by the invitation. However, he added that the Tibetan squad’s participation will depend on lot of factors, including funds.
The Tibet national team participated in its first ever international tournament in June 2006 when it played in the FIFI (Football International Federation of Independents) Wild Cup tournament in Hamburg, Germany. The team played it’s first international match against Greenland in