By Simon Crowe
THE PEOPLE of Yorkshire could soon see their own county playing on the international stage.
Yorkshire Football is due to submit an application to join the Confederation of Independent Football Associations and trials for the first team are due to be held at Hemsworth Miners Welfare FC on December 10 for players of all abilities.
If accepted Yorkshire into CONIFA will be able to participate in the organisation’s World Cup which is held every two years and could see Yorkshire facing in the likes of Western Armenia and Québéc.
Phillip Hegarty, creator and chairman of Yorkshire International Football Association decided to create a county-wide team for the international stage after finding out about CONIFA in July.
He said: “I can’t imagine there’s any football fan from Yorkshire that hasn’t sat down at one point with colleagues and friends in the pub and drawn an imaginary first 11 of Yorkshire players.”
CONIFA is a football federation that represents all nations which are outside FIFA as well as de-facto nations and regions. To be able to join certain criteria must be fulfilled.
Phillip said: “We’ve got to show Yorkshire cultural uniquities, show we are not just a political division of a highly centralised country like England.
“There is a lot more to us heritage-wise, linguistically, historically and culturally.
“We want to do what Yorkshire Cricket used to do, we want to be playing in every Riding, it’s important that every Riding is represented.”
Former Ossett Town and Albion player Micky Long has been brought in as a coach and will be helping build a Yorkshire-wide side.
He said: “It’s a fantastic opportunity to represent the county.
“I feel a lot people are surprised by it and don’t quite understand it but once they begin to realise what the concept is everyone is really behind it and I was very much the same.”
Luke Wood, 20, a Leeds United fan, said: “It’s a good idea. You saw how well Yorkshire athletes did in the Olympics in 2012 and 2016 so it would be something I’d get behind.”