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Para- and Proto-Sports Diplomacy of Contested Territories: CONIFA as a Platform for Football Diplomacy

Ramesh Ganohariti, Ernst Dijxhoorn
2020 The Hague Journal of Diplomacy  
International relations and sport have become increasingly intertwined, with sport and sports events being used for various diplomatic and political goals. Yet, membership of FIFA and the IOC is largely organised along lines of sovereign statehood. Like other fora of diplomacy, this excludes contested territories that wish to engage in diplomacy for various political, economic, and cultural reasons. Yet, these entities can engage in international sports (diplomacy) through membership of the
more » ... mbership of the Confederation of Independent Football Associations (CONIFA). This paper finds that while the participating entities often make a political statement, there is little evidence that participation in CONIFA has positively impacted their foreign policy goals. Furthermore, beyond CONIFA, contested territories have been unable to advance their sporting sovereignty or engage in diplomatic relations with recognised states. However, CONIFA aids in nation branding through hosting rights and media attention, and contributes to strengthening the 'national' identity of the participants.
doi:10.1163/1871191x-bja10027 fatcat:q2fr56ixnnbzdbmdcrp2p2vjs4