Yorkshire can boast the world’s newest international football team after its membership of the non-FIFA Confederation of International Football Associations (CONIFA) was ratified on Saturday.
The team, for which only players born in the county are eligible, was set up in July and is set to make its debut with a friendly match against the Isle of Man at Hemsworth on January 28.
CONIFA delegates unanimously passed Yorkshire’s application for membership at their annual general meeting in Kyrenia, Northern Cyprus.
The organisation tweeted: “Welcome to the CONIFA family to @YorksIFA! The 5th AGM just approved them unanimously as the newest member! Congratulations!”
CONIFA, which was established in 2013, describes itself as a federation for international teams “from nations, de-facto nations, regions, minority peoples and sports isolated territories”.
Yorkshire join the likes of Somaliland, Greenland and Quebec as members of the organisation, which stages its 2018 World Cup in London in June – though it is too late for Yorkshire’s involvement.
Yorkshire chairman Phil Hegarty told Press Association Sport: “We are delighted with this news – the whole project has moved so quickly and this decision has made it all a lot more tangible.
“The fact it was a unanimous decision is great as well, not just for the team but for the region as a whole because it shows that Yorkshire has a cultural uniquity and that has been recognised.”
Hegarty added that at least one unnamed Premier League player has been approached about representing the team, although the bulk will be made up of semi-professionals from around tier six level.