football_tibet_federation-pngThis week’s badge features a football association who are in charge of ‘The Forbidden Team’. Needless to say, the situation is a bit complicated.

Since 1959 Tibet has been incorporated into the People’s Republic of China, and a Government in Exile was formed by the Tibetans (including the Dalai Lama) who fled to Dharamsala, India. Football in a way is older than this government, having been first introduced to Tibet in 1913 when the British built a military training facility in Lhasa. But it was in 2000 that the Tibetan Football Association was formed, with the intention of eventually becoming a recognised footballing nation.

Tibet’s first ever football game came against Greenland a year later, resulting in a 4-1 win for Greenland in a match played in Copenhagen, Denmark. China had threatened to cut off trade with Denmark over the match, but it went ahead anyway – with a film crew following the Tibetan team for a documentary called The Forbidden Team. While the Tibetan football team do not have recognition at this point from AFC or FIFA, their desire to play the beautiful game in the midst of an ugly history is something to be admired.