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Inside the world of forgotten football lands
on 26 April 2012
Steve Menary's book, OUTCASTS, can be recommended for anyone who loves football. The book gives a rare insight into a football world that usually does not get much attention in the international media. The book is about the lands that the world governing body of football, FIFA, does not accept as members. The denial of existence by FIFA does not stop these countries from playing football no matter what it takes and how remote these places are. The core of the book is therefore about the true love to the beautiful game.
The book contains so many fascinating stories, that it is difficult to pick one single out. One of my favorite is the story about football on the Falklands Islands, where the passion for football and politics are mixed together. The story about Chris Clarke, who went to take a trial in Boca Juniors, is an intersting example of this mixture. Another fascinating story is about the football in Greenland, where players have to travel long dangerous distances to play football matches, which sometime has tragically consequences.
OUTCASTS is also a very topical. The tiny British colony, Gibraltar, is at the moment trying once again to become a member of UEFA. Gibraltar's membership will be taken up to account at the UEFA Congress in 2013, when all UEFA's members will vote on whether Gibraltar will receive a membership or not. This is certainly not the first time Gibraltar is trying to become member of UEFA. The book describes very well Gibraltar's attempt in 2007 to become a member of UEFA, but where the football giant, Spain, threatened to boycott UEFA if Gibraltar was given a membership.
For me personally the book, Outcasts, is very interesting. I come from the Faroe Islands, which is not an independent nation under the UN. The Faroe Islands did, however, get membership in UEFA and FIFA in 1988. It is difficult to describe how much this has meant for the development of football on the Faroe Islands, and also for the national feeling of being Faroese. The membership in UEFA and FIFA has clearly put the Faroe Islands on the world map, and, after the swimming superstar Pál Joensen,the Faroese National Football Team is today, rightly so, regarded as one of the most important ambassadors for the Faroese nation. I therefore fully understand the dream, passion and determination of all these countries to become a part of the "football family", as Blatter usually calls FIFA's members. You can't do anything else than admire all these peoples, who are behind these football associations, persistently pushing for their case no matter how the chances, of FIFA to open the gates, look like.
I will therefore recommend everyone who would like to get a different angle of the beutiful game to read Steve Menary's book OUTCASTS.