The United Nations has 193 members, whilst FIFA on the other hand has 211 members.This occurrence happens because many of the 193 members have self-governing colonies, such as the Cayman Islands or Martinique; more than one team represents a sovereign nation, such as England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland; political anomalies such as Hong Kong, China, and Taiwan; or simple geography, such as Guam. Generally speaking, though, UN members tend to be able to muster up 11 players to compete at international football.
There are of course a few anomalies to throw into the mix: there’s Monaco, who instead of competing as a national team have one of the most successful team in the French league; there’s the Vatican City, whose population are far too busy touching people (spiritually, of course); there’s Nauru, who are so crap they have just never fielded a team, and then there’s poor old Tuvalu, a country that genuinely wants to be part of FIFA. But FIFA won’t let them.
So, what’s FIFA’s problem?
Obviously an organization with such integrity as FIFA has extremely high standards that it likes its members to adhere to – a policy which has meant zero corruption has ever happened at FIFA – and it is some of these rules that have affected Tuvalu’s bid to join the international football community. Officially, at least it is a lack of a proper pitch or hotel infrastructure that is holding Tuvalu back. Sadly FIFA obviously doesn’t have any money to remedy this. This is despite backing and support from the Dutch, who have such a thing for football in Tuvalu that they have a non-profit foundation called ‘Dutch Support Tuvalu’. It’s important to have a hobby!
Do they have a team?
Not only do they have a team, but they are genuine members of the Oceania Football Confederation (which is affiliated with FIFA), and they’ve been playing in the Pacific Games since 1979. Whilst it would be fair to say the team are not that good there have been highs, like beating Tonga 5-3, and lows like losing 18-0 to Tahiti. Although Tahiti, in all fairness, are a pretty good side.
Do they have a league?
They got two leagues! The Tuvalu A-league, and you guessed it, the B-league, which consists of 8 teams representing different places, but all playing on the same/only pitch.
What does the future hold for Tuvalu football?
Who knows? But with Dutch support and maybe some money from FIFA to build a suitable stadium, FIFA membership and maybe, just maybe Tuvalu at the World Cup?