Tibetan National Football Association

Tibet is a historic and autonomous region of China that is often called “the roof of the world.” It occupies a vast area of plateaus and mountains in Central Asia, including Mount Everest. It is bordered by the Chinese provinces of Qinghai to the northeast, Sichuan to the east, and Yunnan to the southeast and also by Myanmar, India, Bhutan, and Nepal to the south; by the disputed Kashmir region to the west; and by the Uygur Autonomous Region of Xinjiang to the northwest. Lhasa is the capital city of Tibet.

The Tibetan National Football Association was founded in 2001, soon after the authorization was delivered by the Tibet Cabinet, and registration under Indian law. Jetsun Pema, the sister of the 14th Dalai Lama is the president of the association, Thupten Dorjee the secretary, and Kalsang Dhondup the executive secretary. The association is now organizing the Gyalyum Chenmo Memorial Gold Cup GCMGC football tournament which existed already in the 1980s. In 2003, the 17th Karmapa was the chief guest on the first day of the tournament which took place at the Tibetan Children’s Village in Dharamsala. Mr. Shrikant Baldi, Deputy Commissioner of Kangra, was the chief guest in 2004 for the tournament. The 13th GCMGC, took place in 2007, and the chief guest was Khenchen Menling Tri Rinpoche of Mendroling Monastery.[4] The 14th took place in 2008, and the chief guest was Khyabje Ling Rinpoche.

The Tibetan National Football Association is now part of the Tibetan National Sport Association whose aims and goals are to create a sustainable Tibetan National Sports Association and Tibetan Football Team, to develop, organize and promote the game of football within the Tibetan Community, to promote Tibetan Football at the International Level, to promote professionalism and career for Tibetan footballers, to promote awareness of Tibetan cause and issues, to promote Football in particular and in general other games and sports opportunities for Tibetan children and youth at all levels within the exile Tibetan community, India and abroad, to organize, promote and encourage football and other sporting activities in the Tibetan community, and to start, build, construct, manage, and organize sporting facilities at all levels with particular reference to football, and furnish them with necessary furniture and equipment.

The Tibetan National Football Team is the team that represents the Tibetan National Football Association. Many of the players of the Tibetan National Football Team are in exile and are represented by the Tibetan government in exile. The team is part of neither FIFA nor the AFC and does not participate in international tournaments. The first international game of The Tibetan National Football Team against a team that wasn’t Asian was versus Greenland, which took place in Denmark. The team was followed by a documentary film crew during the process of forming the team, practicing, playing the match, and events in between. The documentary was titled ‘The Forbidden Team’. To form the team, a selective tournament was held in Dehradun, India, featuring all the various Tibetan football teams around India.

The Tibetan National Football Team took part in the 2006 FIFI Wild Cup that took place in Hamburg, Germany. The first match they played was against St. Pauli and they unfortunately lost this game 7–0. The second and final match of The Tibetan National Football Team in this tournament was against Gibraltar which again they unfortunately lost 5–0. During the ELF Cup Tibet did not win any games. The first game was against Tajikistan where they lost 3–0. The Tibetan National Football Team played the Crimean Tatars, which they lost 1–0. Finally, the biggest loss came when Tibetan National Football Team played Northern Cyprus, who beat them 10–0.

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