Football fans across the world will be very focused on South Africa for four weeks this summer. But folk in Kvikkjokk in northern Sweden will also be watching events on the Maltese island of Gozo. Football is big in Kvikkjokk, but the long and snowy Lapland winters mean that there is not a lot of opportunity for outdoor matches.
Of course there is disappointment that Sweden has not qualified for the 2010 World Cup, but Kvikkjokk’s loyalties are divided, and many in the village support the Sápmi national team, which will represent the Sámi (or Lapp) people at the alternative Viva World Cup in Gozo.
Yes, there is more than one World Cup, and this year Gozo hosts a competition for small nations and other oddball entities that do not qualify for inclusion in the international football events organised under the FIFA umbrella.