Current Unofficial Football World Champions Uruguay will play Northern Ireland on 30 May, ahead of the World Cup finals in Brazil this summer. The fixture could offer Northern Ireland a chance to challenge for the UFWC title – if Uruguay are still the holders. As things stand, the next UFWC title match will see Uruguay play Austria in Klagenfurt on 5 March. If Uruguay avoid defeat, they will retain the UFWC title, and go on to defend it against Northern Ireland.
Northern Ireland have a complicated UFWC history. Prior to 1921, a united Ireland side played on the international stage. The Irish Football Association (IFA) had governed football across Ireland. But in 1921 Ireland was partitioned under the terms of the Government of Ireland Act 1920. Effectively, Ireland was spilt into Northern Ireland and Southern Ireland, or the Irish Free State (now the Republic of Ireland). Officially, however, (following FIFA’s lead) all results gained by the united Ireland team prior to 1921 now stand alongside results gained by Northern Ireland.
Northern Ireland have won 5 UFWC title matches (including 3 as the united Ireland) and are 29th in the UFWC ranking table. They haven’t competed in the UFWC since 1997, when they lost to Germany. Northern Ireland didn’t qualify for the World Cup finals, and so far don’t have any other fixtures lined up after the Uruguay match, so as it stands if Northern Ireland defeat Uruguay to become Unofficial Football World Champions, the UFWC title will not be present at Brazil 2014.
So will the UFWC go to the World Cup? Or will Austria or Northern Ireland take the title from Uruguay? We’ll have full coverage, including news of any additional fixtures right here. You can keep up to date by following us on on Twitter or Facebook.
Don’t forget that the brand new 2014 edition of the official UFWC book, Unofficial Football World Champions, is out now.