The 2017 ConIFA European Football Cup, which is an international football tournament for states, minorities, stateless peoples and regions unaffiliated with FIFA organised by ConIFA kicked off in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus yesterday.
The opening ceremony of the 2017 ConIFA European Football Cup which is being held under the slogan “freedom to play football” was held at the Lefkoşa Atatürk Stadium last night.
Delivering an opening speech at the event, the President of the Cyprus Turkish Football Association Hasan Sertoğlu said they wanted to show that the TRNC did not lack anything from the member countries of the UEFA and FIFA.
He added that they also wanted to show what the Turkish Cypriot people were capable of.
The President of the ConIFA Europe Alberto Rischio for his part thanked the Cyprus Turkish Football Association for organizing the championship tournament at such high standards, adding that the tournament was an indicator that all boundaries had been lifted.
The President of the ConIFA World Per Anders Blind stated that ConIFA was a special platform as it is a unique opportunity to show all cultural heritages and friendships to the world.
Also addressing the event, Prime Minister Hüseyin Özgürgün pointed out that such an organization had a great meaning for the TRNC youth and said “we are a generation which grew up in the resentment after being prevented by the Greek Cypriot side’s bigoted mentality which failed to comprehend the friendship, brotherhood and peace aspects of sports.”
The Premier also said that the sports embargos imposed on the TRNC and its youth was a violation of human rights and a great shame of humanity.
“I hope this tournament will once again invite those who behave shamefully to common sense and also help them understand that the Cyprus Turkish people are not subject to their mercy” Özgürgün said.
“It is a pride for us that our youth after such a long time are competing at a national level in this championship which has a great importance for our country” the Premier added.