London, 30 May 2018
Tibetans, both inside Tibet and in the diaspora, and their supporters across the world are keenly anticipating the Tibetan Men’s National Football Team participation in the CONIFA Paddy Power World Football Cup 2018 tournament.
The 10-day tournament, which kicks-off in London tomorrow, 31 May 2018, will feature 16 teams representing over 300 million people from five continents with 48 matches played in ten stadiums across London. CONIFA (the Confederation of Independent Football Associations), the football federation for all associations outside FIFA and founded on 7 June 2013, has declared this year’s tournament to be “the biggest World Football Cup ever’’.
The players and support staff of the Tibetan Men’s National Football Team enter the tournament, their first-ever participation in a global football tournament, with the advice of His Holiness the Dalai Lama fresh in their minds. His Holiness told them at an audience in Dharamsala, India, on 18 May that wherever they went “it is very important that you uphold the honour and dignity of Tibet and Tibetan people. Most importantly, carry our values and culture of cultivating compassion with you as you go”.
Abkhazia, Northern Cyprus and Karpatalya are the three other teams drawn in Group 2 along with Tibet. The Tibetan team, awarded a wild-card entry to the World Football Cup 2018, play their first match in the tournament at Enfield Town FC on 31 May against Abkhazia, the winners of CONIFA’s previous 2016 tournament.
The Tibetan team, who arrived in London on 21 May to acclimatise and play a series of warm-up games, are greatly looking forward to the start of the tournament. Mr Passang Dorjee, the Manager of Tibetan National Football Team and the Executive Secretary of the Tibetan National Sports Association, taking a brief break from final preparations for the opening match tomorrow said, “It is a moment of great pride for all Tibetans to see the Tibetan team play in the CONIFA World Football Cup 2018.”
Passang Dorjee continued “At the same time it is a golden opportunity to represent Tibet on a global stage and to showcase not just our footballing skills but also the Tibetan Buddhist nature of compassion and warm-heartedness – the need of the hour in the current global climate. We have a young group of players and they are all excited to have this incredible opportunity to perform on the pitch for TIBET!”
Mr Chonpel Tsering, the Representative at the Office of Tibet, London, expressed the Tibetan enthusiasm for their team’s participation when he said, “The World Football Cup 2018 tournament has enabled this group of Tibetan sportsmen to represent the Tibetan people at a global tournament. They have the opportunity to showcase not just their sporting prowess but also the Tibetan spirit, culture and identity to the world through football, the world’s most popular sport. Chonpel Tsering further added: “We thank CONIFA for providing them this wonderful platform and send our best wishes to the Tibetan Men’s National Football Team.”
The Tibetan Community in Britain will perform a Tibetan song for the CONIFA World Football Cup 2018 tournament opening ceremony being held at Bromley Town FC at 7pm on 31 May. There will be further Tibetan cultural performances on 3 June at Bracknell Town FC during the half-time interval of the Tibetan team’s third group match against Karpatalya.
The Tibetan Community in Britain and supporters of the Tibetan people, as well as many other football fans, will come together to cheer the team and enjoy the beautiful game of football.
Passang Dorjee (Manager, Tibetan National Football Team & Executive Secretary, Tibetan National Sports Association): +44 (0)7723077558
Tenzin Kunga (Communications & Advocacy Officer, Office of Tibet London): +44 (0)7479394775
NOTES TO EDITORS
Further information about CONIFA Paddy Power World Football Cup 2018 is available at: http://www.conifa.org/en/wfc-2018/
For further information about the Tibetan National Sports Association & the Tibetan National Football Team, see: http://tibetansports.org/
A video of the Tibetan National Football Team audience with His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala, India, on 18 May (in Tibetan) can be viewed here: https://www.facebook.com/14thGyalwaRinpoche/videos/1717229964981925/?hc_ref=ARST61n86nQueMMGOaXzxngxIFprhvLPDPv-_byF3dUMz21tR1eZ9SItxWcKBWcrSHQ. Read a report on the audience here: http://tibet.net/2018/05/wherever-you-go-uphold-tibetan-values-of-compassion-and-peace-his-holiness-tells-tibetan-national-football-team/