On Sunday 26th June 2011 a remarkable event will take place, one that is sure to get all football groundhoppers literally reaching for their plastic programme wallets with excitement like it has never been seen before. On this historic day the football tournament in the 14th Island Games on the Isle of Wight will start. Not just start but shoot into space with a total of 13 games being played in 7 venues on one day. God said rest on the seventh day and what better way to rest than to race around a small island watching the likes of the Falkland Islands, Greenland and Rhodes play our beautiful game.
The International Island Games were founded in the Isle of Man in 1985 and today include 25 member islands in, or associated with, the nine sovereign nations of Canada, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Norway, Spain, Sweden and the UK, plus the Caribbean. The Islands come together every two years to compete in friendly competition in a range of up to 14 sports chosen by the host Island from an approved list of 18. One such sport this year is football, meaning that the best international tournament to be played this year will be taking place a mile or so off the south coast of England in the Isle of Wight.
Marienhamn sports complex
The last games were held in 2009 in Åland, close to the Finnish coast. Twenty five islands took part in fourteen events, with the football taking pride and place with sixteen nation playing in the main stadium in Mariehamn. Overall the Faroe Islands won the most Golds (34) but due to their affiliation with FIFA they were not allowed to play in the football tournament which was won by Jersey who beat the hosts 2-1 in the final
And who will be there this time around(apart from me, of course)? Well how about the heavyweights of international football Frøya, the silky skills of the men from Hitra or the passionate support from Prince Edward Islands. In fact out of the 25 competing nations I have never heard of nearly half of them. For your information Frøya and Hitra are neighbouring islands situated off the coast of Central Norway, Hitra is closest to the mainland , whilst Frøya is the outermost one facing the North Atlantic. Hitra is now connected to the mainland by the world’s deepest underwater tunnel, 264m under sea level. Prince Edward Island on the other hand has the distinction of being the smallest political unit in one of the world’s largest countries, Canada. “The Island,” as it is known affectionately by its inhabitants, is situated in the Gulf of St. Lawrence off the Atlantic coast of North America. At 46° North latitude, it is about half-way between the Equator and the North Pole. The Falkland Islands had come from literally the other end of the earth, whilst my Danish cousins were represented with teams from Greenland and the Faroes respectively. Who wouldn’t want to see The Falklands take on Alderney? Continue reading