Ahh, the beautiful game. No, not Hungry Hungry Hippos, we’re talking football. And in particular, football in, er, Greenland.
The people of Greenland—that gigantic ice-covered island in the north Atlantic Ocean—love their football, with a staggering 10% of the entire adult population said to regularly play or take part in it. Greenland also has its own local governing body for football, and has done for almost 50 years after the foundation of the Grønlands Boldspil-Union, or “Football Association of Greenland”, in 1971.
But despite their obvious love for it, Greenlanders have yet to have their passion for football recognised by the game’s international governing body, FIFA. And in fact, as of 2019, they have been turned down for membership of FIFA on two separate occasions. Why? Well, it’s a surprisingly pragmatic reason.
Permafrost and ice covers some 75% of Greenland’s surface, and that makes finding room for crisp, green, grass-covered football pitches something of a challenge. An artificial pitch was opened in the island’s capital, Nuuk, in 2016, and it’s hoped that that will go some way towards cementing Greenland’s entry to FIFA sometime in the future. But alas (and somewhat ironically) it’s Greenland’s lack of green that remains at the root of its footballing problem.