Outcasts!: The Lands That Fifa Forgot (Anglais) Relié – Illustré, 29 novembre 2007
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One book to intrigue the discerning reader this Christmas --Sunday Telegraph
"Menary is an admirably sure-footed guide ... he never loses sight of the human stories ... a gentle meditation not merely on the power of football, but also on what it means to be a country." --Jonathan Wilson, When Saturday Comes
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"Outcasts" is a book that gets into the seemingly countless amount of inconsistencies in FIFA regulations. This is a book about football nations that want to represent themselves by playing international football matches, but are not allowed to do just that. Also in this book are stories about the NF-Board (New Federation-Board) who want to let all the people play.
You can't write a book about UFN without mentioning the NF-Board, so there's quite a lot of stories about the NF-Board here. There are stories about the good: "the NF-Board's initial provisional membership swells to 17 football federations" and the bad: "[it] should be the first game in the VIVA World Cup, but, not only are there no fans, there are no teams." The stories in the book are very honest. Steve Menary tries to describe people and events as accurate as possible and doesn't try to make things seem better than they are in reality.
NF-Board president Christian Michelis and NF-Board general secretary Jean-Luc Kit, who are very impressed with Menary's book, were actually the ones who recommended me to buy this book. And I'm quite happy for that as I've obviously enjoyed reading it.
The book has it's factual errors though. For example, The Hague is incorrectly mentioned in chapter sixteen as the capital of The Netherlands. However, The Hague is merely the seat of government and not the capital (Amsterdam is the capital) of The Netherlands. There is also an incorrect mention of Australia and New Zealand reaching the FIFA World Cup finals in 1970 and 1974 respectively, while it was actually 1974 and 1982 respectively. And I'm sure there's a few more, but you could describe these errors as minor errors and they really don't have any effect on the quality of the story.
I was happy to see an entire chapter devoted to football from the Northern Mariana Islands. To find a book about UFN is one thing, but to also find out that there's also something about football from the Northern Marianas was quite a pleasant surprise. It's a chapter that describes how the Northern Mariana Islands Football Association emerged and became a provisional member of the East Asian Football Association. It's quite an amazing story about how a man called Peter Coleman, who just wanted to let his children play football, ends up creating a national team that becomes a provisional member of the EAFF. This is a rare example where one of the UFN actually starts getting some recognition. Unfortunately, most UFN, for example Greenland who have been trying to get some recognition for many years now, are not this lucky.
It's a very enjoyable book for people interested in UFN, but it's also very interesting for football fans in general as it gives a whole different perspective of the international football than most people are accustomed to. The stories are not only about football, but also about the protection of human and cultural rights. As president of the CENF (Confederation of European New Federations), I know about what's going on with the UFN and I'm happy to see that there's now a chance for everybody to read about what's really going on in the world of international football. Rating: Excellent!
The book contains so many fascinating stories, that it is difficult to pick one single out. One of my favorite is the story about football on the Falklands Islands, where the passion for football and politics are mixed together. The story about Chris Clarke, who went to take a trial in Boca Juniors, is an intersting example of this mixture. Another fascinating story is about the football in Greenland, where players have to travel long dangerous distances to play football matches, which sometime has tragically consequences.
OUTCASTS is also a very topical. The tiny British colony, Gibraltar, is at the moment trying once again to become a member of UEFA. Gibraltar's membership will be taken up to account at the UEFA Congress in 2013, when all UEFA's members will vote on whether Gibraltar will receive a membership or not. This is certainly not the first time Gibraltar is trying to become member of UEFA. The book describes very well Gibraltar's attempt in 2007 to become a member of UEFA, but where the football giant, Spain, threatened to boycott UEFA if Gibraltar was given a membership.
For me personally the book, Outcasts, is very interesting. I come from the Faroe Islands, which is not an independent nation under the UN. The Faroe Islands did, however, get membership in UEFA and FIFA in 1988. It is difficult to describe how much this has meant for the development of football on the Faroe Islands, and also for the national feeling of being Faroese. The membership in UEFA and FIFA has clearly put the Faroe Islands on the world map, and, after the swimming superstar Pál Joensen,the Faroese National Football Team is today, rightly so, regarded as one of the most important ambassadors for the Faroese nation. I therefore fully understand the dream, passion and determination of all these countries to become a part of the "football family", as Blatter usually calls FIFA's members. You can't do anything else than admire all these peoples, who are behind these football associations, persistently pushing for their case no how the chances, of FIFA open the gates, look like.
I will therefore recommend everyone who would like to get a different angle of the beutiful game to read Steve Menary's book OUTCASTS.