Breakaway Turkish Cypriots May Compete in Turkish Soccer League

The Turkish Football Federation (TFF) is considering allowing a Turkish Cypriot team to compete in Turkish leagues in a move that would move the breakaway Turkish Cypriot state on the divided Mediterranean island to move from the VIVA World Cup, a tournament for the unrecognized, to competitions recognized by FIFA, world soccer’s governing body.

TFF chairman Mahmut Ozgener met with the head of the Turkish Cypriot football federation, Hasan Sertoglu, this week to discuss the Turkish Cypriot request. Sertoglu described the encounter as a “very useful meeting. He said Ozgener was sympathetic to the proposal and believed that neither FIFA or UEFA, the European soccer body, would object.

Turkey is the only country to have recognized the breakaway republic that was declared after Turkey’s 1974 invasion of the island. Turkish troops remain based in the Turkish parts of Cyprus.

Turkish Cyprus competed until now in the VIVA World Cup alongside teams that hail from tribal areas like Lapland that stretches across northern Norway, Finland and Sweden; agricultural provinces such as France’s Provence and Italy’s Padania; Northern Cyprus, a self-declared state recognized only by Turkey; Sealand, an ancient city-state off the coast of England that claims to be an independent sovereign state; Tibet, a Chinese disenfranchised minority enclave ; or Kurdistan, a nation that can’t get soccer's international governing body to acknowledge it.


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