By Brian Homewood
AARHUS, Denmark (Reuters) – Denmark’s football association (DBU) supports Greenland’s bid to become a member of FIFA and wants to help develop the sport on the territory which still has no proper pitches.
Greenland, which like the Faroe Islands is part of the Kingdom of Denmark and has wide autonomy, has had a football association since 1971 and has long hoped to become a member of the international football community.
The Faroe Islands have been FIFA members since 1988.
“Greenland is still a part of Denmark, they want to become members of UEFA and FIFA and, of course, the DBU will support them in that,” DBU president Jesper Moller told the Play the Game conference.
“I hope that the new FIFA president will back me up when we try to do something.”
Despite its inhospitable climate and lack of facilities, Greenland has a remarkably high proportion of players, but a lack of facilities means it cannot host international games.
“They have no first class pitches in Greenland, no artificial turf, they have nothing,” said Moller.
“They have earth to play on but they have 5,000 players in a population of 54,000.”
“We could do better in Greenland, we could make a big difference and of course we have to help them.”
Moller visited Greenland in August and the Danish and Greenlandic associations have signed a co-operation agreement which aims to encourage the game at grass roots level and build four to six artificial pitches.
FIFA statues state that “an association which has not yet gained independence may, with the authorisation of the association in the country on which it is dependent, also apply for admission to FIFA.”
A possible complication for Greenland is that national associations must be affiliated to continental confederations before they can join FIFA.
European soccer’s governing body UEFA would be the logical choice for Greenland due to its links with Denmark, however, UEFA’s statutes now allow FA’s to join if they represent countries whose independence is recognised by the United Nations.
Greenland is geographically closer to North America and could join the North and Central America and Caribbean Confederation (CONCACAF), which allows autonomous territories to join.
That could lead to Greenland playing competitive matches against teams such as Mexico, Trinidad and Suriname.
Greenland’s national side play games against other non-FIFA teams and are regular participants in the football tournament at the Island Games, finishing as runners-up to Bermuda in 2013.
(Editing by Rex Gowar)