The Chagos Islands Football (Soccer) Team
This month in Brazil, 32 nations will play in the world’s most popular sporting event, the World Cup. The Chagos Islands team won’t be there. Why not?
The Chagos Islands isn’t eligible for the World Cup because
Chagos—an archipelago in the Indian Ocean—isn’t a recognized nation. Its players can’t live in the land they represent on the field because the
Chagossian people has been exiled from its homeland for more than 40 years. In the late 1960s and early 1970s,
the U.S. and British governments forcibly removed the entire population while building a U.S. military base on the Chagossians’ island Diego
Garcia. The two governments deported the people 1,200 miles away to the western Indian Ocean islands of Mauritius and the Seychelles,
leaving them in exile with nothing.
Since their expulsion, the Chagossians have been living in poverty, struggling to return to their homeland and gain proper reparations. In recent years, some Chagossians who are UK citizens have been able to move to Britain to try to find better lives. Around a working class suburb of London, near Gatwick Airport, the Chagos Islands football team has played in support of the people's struggle and a simple demand: “LET US RETURN!”
Unfortunately, the team has lacked funds to play
regularly and bring their message of “Let
Us Return” to the world. Allies worldwide are now rallying to raise
money to support the team and the people’s struggle.
contributing to the team and becoming part of the Chagossians’ struggle for justice. With a contribution, you will get one of the perks described on the right, each of which helps spread the message of “Let Us Return!”
The campaign ends on the day of the World Cup final, July 13th.
What the Team Needs (and What You Get)
your help, the Chagos Islands football team will be able to train regularly,
play official matches, and tell the world, “Let
Us Return!” Ultimately, the team hopes to play in the next World Cup for national
teams that are not recognized by soccer’s international governing body (FIFA).
Half of your money will help support the following:
- Travel Costs for Matches in the UK and Europe
- Practice Field Rental Fees
- Match and Tournament Entry Fees
- Chagos Islands Football Team Warm-up Tracksuits
- Training and Match Balls
- First Aid Kits
The other half of your money will go to the Chagos Refugees Group, which is working to win Chagossians’ right of return and to
improve living conditions, education, and employment in exile.
With the help of From the Heart Productions, all contributions (beyond the value of any perks received) are tax deductible for U.S. tax purposes.
Other Ways to Support “Let Us Return!”
Even if you cannot make a financial contribution, you can support the team and join the “Let Us Return!” campaign.
· Spread the word about the campaign and share it on social media.
· When you hear people talking about the World Cup, ask them if they have heard about the Chagos Islands team and the struggle to “Let Us Return!”
· Submit to the "Chagos Island Football Team International Design Competition" (see below) and encourage others to submit.
· Learn more
below and rally others to get involved.
Learn More about the Chagossians & Their Exile
· Watch a “60 Minutes” report (12 min)
· Watch John Pilger’s “Stealing a Nation” (56 min)
Learn More about the Chagos Islands Team
· Check out the Chagos Islands team on Facebook
· Read a Vice story about the team
· Listen to a BBC interview
Chagos Islands Football Team International Design Competition
As part of the campaign, the team and its supporters are holding a competition to design the official Chagos Islands football team tracksuit.
Professional and amateur designers are encouraged to submit designs for the tracksuit (jacket and pants). The only rules for the competition are that the design must:
1) Incorporate all the colors of the Chagos Islands’ flag (orange, aquamarine, black), with white the only additional color allowed;
2) Bear the official crest of the Chagos Football Association, no larger than 4 in. (10 mm) in height and width;
3) Bear the words “Let Us Return!”
4) Include front and back views of the jacket and pants.
Design submissions must be sent as a .pdf, .jpeg, .tiff, or .doc file to email@example.com by 11:59 p.m. (Washington, DC time) on July 13, 2014.
The team will serve as judges. The winner of the competition will receive three sets of the complete tracksuit, $500, and the rare opportunity to be the designer for a national team uniform and part of a global struggle for justice. The winner will be announced by August 1, 2014.See: https://www.facebook.com/ChagosDesignCompetition
(Chagos Football Association crest)
(Diego Garcia inside crest)