An agreement has been struck between the newly-renamed Manx International Football Alliance and the Isle of Man FA to ensure players and official won’t receive sanctions from the latter if they elect to get involved with MIFA’s Ellan Vannin team.
In a joint statement released to the media by both organisations, IoMFA president Tony Jones said:
‘This agreement recognises the additional opportunities being made available, whilst also ensuring that this development being introduced by MIFA has the effect of complementing, as opposed to competing against, the work carried out at all levels of football by the IoMFootball Association as the governing body for the sport on the Isle of Man.’
Malcolm Blackburn, chief executive of MIFA, also commented on the deal:
‘On behalf of MIFA I would like to thank Mr Jones and Mr Stennett from the IoMFA for the considerable work that they have put into bringing this to a conclusion which we believe will be of benefit to Manx football.
‘We look forward to continuing with our close working relationship with the IoMFA.’
Upon its foundation in October under the guise of the Manx Independent Football Association, MIFA stated it had been set up in an attempt to offer footballers in the island exposure to a higher standard of competition and that it only intended to operate at international or club level during the traditional Manx off-season of June 1 to July 31. Assurances were also given that it would not in any circumstances establish a league in competition to the existing domestic structure.
After seeking advice from the English FA, however, the IoMFA initially ruled that because MIFA was not affiliated to itself or the sport’s world governing body FIFA that it would have no choice but to penalise those who were involved with it, stating:
‘The FA rules make it clear that clubs, players and club officials subject to the jurisdiction of the Association or an affiliated Association (in this case the IoMFA) shall not be associated with, nor play in, football which is not affiliated.’
After months of negotiations it now appears the FA has relaxed its stance meaning MIFA can send its representative side, Ellan Vannin, to June’s Confederation of Independent Football Association’s World Football Cup competition in Sweden without fear of sanctions.
Indeed last week MIFA changed its name to the Manx International Football Alliance partly to underline its new working relationship with the IoMFA.
Explaining the name change a statement on MIFA’s Facebook page said: ‘A dormant business name, Independent Manx Football Association, was recently resurrected and also we felt that as we are working with the IoMFA not against them the word ‘alliance’ was more fitting.
‘Also bringing in the word ‘international’ again removes doubt over our intentions and demonstrates that all we are about is providing additional opportunities for Manx players on the international stage.’
While talks have been taking place MIFA president Malcolm Blackburn has continued to drive forward the organisation’s preparations for the summer’s trip to Ostersund.
St George’s Chris Bass Sr has been named as the Ellan Vannin side’s manager, his new charges making their official bow with a friendly against fellow non-FIFA side Monaco at the Bowl on the evening of Sunday, April 6.