We’re planning to start a new series on our website, “Opposition Spotlight”, a new occasional segment to give Surrey fans an insight into non-FIFA teams from around the world that compete in ConIFA, the Island Games, CONCACAF and more, including teams Surrey may face in the future!
To kick off this series, what better team to put the spotlight on then our very own Surrey women’s team!
Created in 2019 the International Surrey Women’s Football Team is an indirect replacement to the Surrey County FA team that was folded by the county FA due to a lack of funding and aims to provide a county team that could theoretically take advantage of its unique place to provide greater opportunities then just a Surrey County FA team or the International Surrey Men’s team is capable of achieving.
Surrey currently has a divided club system with no senior Surrey women’s football league, with the Surrey Women’s and Girls Football League currently orientated towards youth level competition. Instead senior Surrey clubs compete in surrounding leagues such as the Greater London Women’s Football League and the Thames Valley Women’s Football League. Surrey is also without a senior county cup competition, instead some Surrey teams will compete in other competitions such as the Capital Women’s Cup, a London orientated competition.
This is despite one of the county’s biggest women’s teams, FA WSL side Chelsea F.C. competing in Kingston-Upon-Thames at Kingsmeadow, while other top level Surrey women’s teams such as Millwall Lionesses and Crystal Palace Ladies, competing in the 2nd tier FA Women’s Championship compete in grounds in neighbouring Kent, Dartford and Bromley respectively.
A youth level girls county team is organised by the Surrey Schools FA and provides both boys and girls in Surrey representative football up to Under 16 level. However, no representative football is provided above this level, not something that’s gone unnoticed by Surrey’s women’s players that may have missed the opportunity to represent their county in competitions such as the South Counties Cup due to funding cuts while near by counties such as Sussex and Kent continue to provide this opportunity to players.
2019 sees International Surrey Football trying to finally try to fill this gap with the creation of its own women’s non-FIFA county team. Currently no other ConIFA team in the British Isles operate a women’s side and only 5 teams under the ConIFA banner operate such a team at all (3 in Europe, 2 in Africa) following the first ConIFA women’s friendly late last year between Northern Cyprus and Sapmi.
This gives Surrey the opportunity to be a potential leader in non-FIFA women’s football and supports aspirations not only to play in a ConIFA Women’s World Football Cup, but also to host such a competition in the future, a goal much harder for the Surrey men’s team with a greater deal of competition to not only host, but also qualify for the World Football Cup and European Football Cup, with currently 28 European ConIFA men’s sides.
As well being a potential leader of non-FIFA women’s football, the Surrey women’s team can also provide an avenue for the Surrey county FA to rejoin FA competitions such as the Southern Counties Cup with a significantly smaller financial obligation with International Surrey Football taking a leading responsibility to deliver the team and carrying its financial burden.
Expect more articles describing non-FIFA teams written by many talented writers from time to time and learn more about what international football falls outside the radar of FIFA.