A beginner’s guide to the UFWC
We’ve had a lot of new website visitors, Twitter followers and Facebook fans over the last few weeks – a very warm welcome to one and all. There’s been a lot happening recently, and now seems as good a time as any to present a beginner’s guide to the UFWC. If you’re a UFWC veteran, please do point your friends in this direction to make sure they don’t miss out on the most exciting football competition on Earth!
So what is the Unofficial Football World Championships (UFWC)? Basically it’s an alternative way of working out the best team in the world. It works in a continuous boxing-style title match system, where winners of title matches become title holders and champions, and move up the rankings. The UFWC goes right back to the very first international match in 1872, 58 years before the first World Cup. Every FIFA accredited A match counts in the UFWC, including friendlies (although there are occassional classification disputes). For more on the history and background of the UFWC see the About section and the FAQ.
The very first UFWC title match took place on 30 November 1872 between Scotland and England. You can read an account of what happened here. To date there have been 838 title matches. You can see a full list of all of them on the results pages. You can also read scores of match reports, including lots covering historical classic matches. In addition, more than 100 classic title matches are covered in the UFWC book.
Japan are the current Unofficial Football World Champions. They took the UFWC title from Argentina in October with a 1-0 victory (match report). It was Japan’s first ever UFWC win. The next UFWC title match is Japan vs Jordan on 9 January 2011, as part of the Asian Cup. That’s exciting, because few Asian teams have held the UFWC title. Of the 16 teams involved in the 2011 Asian Cup, only Japan, South Korea and Australia have been UFWC champions – and they only have one title match victory each.
Overall, 47 teams have won the UFWC title. This includes most major European and South American teams, plus some unlikely champions such as Angola, Israel, Ecuador, and the tiny (now dissolved) Netherlands Antilles. The Antilles beat Mexico 2-1 in 1963 (match report) to win the title. It’s this kind of story that the UFWC is all about.
The UFWC operates an all-time ranking system. Sides are awarded one ranking point for every title match victory. No points are awarded for a draw. Currently, Scotland top the rankings table, some way ahead of second-placed England. That’s because in the early years the UFWC, and football in general, was dominated by British sides, of whom Scotland won most title matches. You can see where your country stands on the rankings page.
The all-time UFWC top scorer is Gunnar Nordahl of Sweden. He scored an amazing 29 goals in just 19 title matches. Official football history probably doesn’t give players like Nordahl the credit they deserve. The UFWC tries to highlight unsung players and present an alternative football history.
The UFWC as an organisation has been around since about 2002. That’s when this website was set up, and we’ve since been featured by a whole host of media organisations around the world, including the BBC, Sky Sports, The Guardian, The Telegraph, FourFourTwo and When Saturday Comes here in the UK where we’re based. We’ve got a trophy – the CW Alcock Cup – although it’s currently a virtual trophy only. (We’re looking for a sponsor to help us create and present a real version to the winning teams!) We even have a mascot – Hughie the UFWC dinosaur. As you can probably tell, we don’t take ourselves too seriously, and the main aim is to make football even more fun and enjoyable than it already is.
There’s also a brand new official UFWC book, Unofficial Football World Champions, which traces the lineage of the UFWC title and tells the story of unofficial champs past and present, involving legendary teams and footballing minnows, classic finals and forgotten friendlies, celebrated players and unsung heroes. You can order the book direct from this site, or from your favourite book shop.
How can you keep up to date with the UFWC? Well, this website is your first port of call. You can follow us on Twitter (@UFWC_Football) or join our Facebook group. (You can also follow me personally on Twitter for UFWC updates and comments – I’m @paulbrownUK.) You can also sign up for our newsletter, or join in the chat on our forum. While you’re on you might like to look at out range of 100 percent cotton UFWC T-shirts…
Coming up as we head into December, we’re going to be taking a look at some UFWC spin-offs that are running alongside the main competition, including the UFWC Wooden Spoon, which reveals the very worst team in the world, plus continental championships, and a women’s UFWC, or WUFWC if you will. Then we’ll be gearing up for the Asian Cup and Japan vs Jordan, with more in-depth previews, and full coverage of all the action. Welcome to the Unofficial Football World Championships.