chagos_football_associationIt might sound strange to have a football team for a largely unpopulated area (then again we have in the past looked at a football association for a country that doesn’t technically exist), but here we look at the very real team representing the Chagos Islands. Also known as the Chagos Archipelago, it is a group of seven atolls comprising more than 60 individual tropical islands in the Indian Ocean. It is officially part of the British Indian Ocean Territory, and since 1971 only the atoll of Diego Garcia is inhabited (and this is only by military and civilian contracted personnel).

But the team is not a military outfit – it instead represents Chagossians unfairly displaced by the British and Americans who set up a military base there. These are people of African, Indian and Malay ancestry who inhabited the Chagos Islands from the late 18th to the late 20th century, but now are spread across the world. A group of islanders living near Crawley, West Sussex in the United Kingdom founded a governing body for football with the intention of creating a team.

And create a team they did, one that recently participated in the ConIFA 2016 World Football Cup. ConIFA stands for the Confederation of Independent Football Associations – it is made up of teams that represent nations, dependencies, unrecognized states, minorities and stateless peoples not affiliated to FIFA – it is in essence a World Cup for unrecognised states, with the aim of finally giving a voice to many of these communities.

This badge takes the sensible approach of visually representing the Chagos Archipelago in the design. A similar approach has been taken by other footballing bodies – for example the national football team of Greenland, as recently looked at on Box to Box Football.