The success of Manx football was a topic raised in the House of Keys today.
Chris Thomas (Douglas West) asked the Chief Minister to make a statement ‘on the recent achievements of the island’s football community’.
Allan Bell told MHKs: ‘The Isle of Man National Football Team won the English FA Inter League Cup Final on May 10 beating Herts Senior County league 3 – 2 at the Bowl Stadium at the National Sports Centre.
‘As a result of this, the Isle of Man Football Team will now represent the Football Association (England) at the UEFA Regions Cup in Slovakia (Kosice) on September 23 for one week and will play games against Slovakia, Germany and one other team in the group which is yet to be confirmed.
‘Prior to this there will be warm up matches in Northern Ireland that the island team will travel to as part of the preparation for the European competition.
‘In addition to this, Ellan Vannin, which represents MIFA (Manx International Football Alliance), played in the Confederation of Independent Football Associations’ World Football Cup in Sweden between May 31 and June 8. Twelve nations were involved in the tournament.
‘Ellan Vannin made it to the final of this tournament where they faced Countea de Nissa FA. The game finished 0–0 and went to penalties, which Ellan Vannin lost 5 – 3.’
He continued: ‘Participation in football on the Isle of Man is another outstanding success.
‘Proportionally to population, participation is far greater than any other of the 47 counties that the FA governing body has responsibility for.
‘One in seven children on the Isle of Man is a member of a local club, for which there are 26 member clubs.
‘Fourteen of these clubs have community club status which is the FA’s benchmark for excellence in terms of number of players, members and teams from junior through to senior (male and female), facilities and qualified coaches.
‘For a population of around 80,000 this is proportionally a far greater number than any other county FA.
‘As a comparison Lancashire, which has a population of around 2 million, has 28 recognised community clubs.
‘In the last 12 months two young players from the Isle of Man (16-year-olds) have signed two-year professional contracts with Blackpool and Morecambe football clubs.
‘Congratulations must go to all those involved who have played their part in the ongoing achievements of developing football on the Isle of Man.’
When they arrived back to the island yesterday, the Ellan Vannin team was greeted by an enthusiastic crowd at Ronaldsway.
Among those present was Laurence Skelly, MHK for Rushen and the Minister for Infrastructure, who met them from the aeroplane.
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