The world’s smallest football league is based on the Isles of Scilly in the south of the United Kingdom

“I’m asking John.” “I love Stuart.” “You chose Max.” These phrases, with the ball in hand, can be attributed to the field. At any school in LondonManchester
Or Birmingham. In fact, changing names could also be Madrid, Barcelona or Seville. However, this ritual is celebrated once a year in the Isles of Scilly, in the south of the United Kingdom, and serves to form the smallest league in the world.

This competition consists of only two teams: Woolpack Wanderers and Garrison Gunners, who play 20 times between them in the league championship, in addition to playing in the Super Cup, two cups, one home and away, a match between the adults Young and even friendly before the start of the season. The matches are always played at the same stadium, on St Mary’s Island, off the coast of Cornwall, and the players in each team change each season.

The tournament organizer explained to EFE: “To select the players for each team, Anthony Gibson, known as “Gibo”, “The two leaders usually sit together In a pub with a beer, they have a list of players and the position they each play in. “They flip a coin and take turns to see which players they’ll pick.”

“It’s like in School yard, plus captains are responsible for cleaning equipment Adds William Lethbridge, who has been playing in the league for seven years and organizes the games.

What leaders look for is that during the long season – from October to March – There is equality and the league does not decide too quickly.

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This is not always simple in reality Woolpack Wanderers have won the last three titles, but the inequality is not always due to the quality of eachBut for typical life circumstances.

In the Isles of Scilly League there are no contracts, no club connections and no salaries. Therefore, when a team striker is called up to work in another part of the country or abroadHe has to go. There are more unusual situations where the player, whose job is a police officer or a nurse, has to leave in the middle of the game due to an emergency.

One time, a farmer was called because his cows had run away Blocking the way.

“Fortunately, what happened with the cows did not happen again.” “And not just because of the setbacks,” jokes Gibson, who also realizes the difficulty of organizing this competition Not by the workers of the city, but by the increasing scarcity of St. Mary’s residents.

This island, with a population of about 2,000 people, The country has been gradually losing population – 7% since 2011 – especially younger ones.

“We have a lot of 15-year-old boys and… The oldest people playing are around 40 years old. They usually stop playing at the age of 50. There is always the fear of not having players “Enough for next season, but for now we have them and I hope we have many more seasons ahead of us,” adds Gibo.

To break the monotony of playing twenty times between the same teams, At the start of the season, the Lioness Cup is contested, with Woolpack and Garrison teaming up against a combined team. An amateur team called the Dynamo Coughs, known for having the smallest trophy in the world.

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This small mug, less than a centimeter high, is placed on a wooden base It came to light at the beginning of the century thanks to a mineralogist. FIFA, knowing historyHe became interested in the piece and added it to his museum in Zurich.

It was not the first time that the world’s attention fell on the league recognized by the Guinness Book of Records The records are the youngest and that in 2007 Adidas brought David Beckham, Michael Ballack, Patrick Vieira and Steven Gerrard to Scilly. Anderson and Daniele De Rossi film an advertisement.

“I remember it well, it was my second year on the island and I was not yet involved in the league like I am today. I played the last match against De Rossi and it was a surreal experience. It’s not every day you play with a world champion, Gibo recalls.

But Gibo’s best memory of that announcement came when information reached the press that Beckham was on the island, so the British media mobilized their resources with helicopters to chase the then Real Madrid player. This caused Becks to run out of there and leave the production team With some footage of the record, but without the star.

They turned to Gibu.

“It was crazy, I was David Beckham’s double for a day. I don’t look much alike, but it helps that you took them They were taken from a helicopter (laughs). “That was my greatest moment of fame,” he recalls.

Additionally, Vodafone used this tournament in 2019 to test FAR technology, Instead of VAR, through which it was the fans themselves who decided whether the referee’s decision was correct.

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The last league season started October 22 and runs until March 24 and at the moment everything is aimed at Woolpack Wanderers achieves the fourth title in a row after three consecutive victories.

However, competition is not one of the main reasons for this League to mobilize every year to meet At the bar to decide, as if they were schoolchildren, who would be the best player on the island.

“We’re all good friends. I don’t think there’s much competition,” he said. Although when you play what you want is to win. After the match there is always a handshake “And a few beers in the pub to watch the Premier League,” says Lethbridge.

“At the end of the season, there is a team meal and a cup ceremony Player of the Season award, Golden Boot, etc. Players of each team “They have to get a pint as soon as possible, there are other games too, I won’t go into too much detail (laughs).”

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