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ConIFA World Football Cup 2018: Who are Padania?


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As part of The National Student's coverage of the ConIFA World Football Cup, we're giving you the low down of all 16 teams. This time, we're introducing you to Padania.

Who are they?

Padania represents the eight northern regions of Italy. The region also is known as the Po Valley. The eight regions are Piedmont, Aosta Valley, Lombardy, Veneto, Liguria, Emilia-Romagna, Trentino Alto-Adige and Friuli Venezia-Giulia. These regions combine for a population of just over 27 million. 

Political party Lega Nord also include Tuscany, Marche and Umbria giving a total population of just under 34 million. 

Padania is one of the most important economic and industrial centres of Europe. The term was first used in the 1960s and in 1975, the Communist President of Emilia-Romagna prosed a socio-economic union with Veneto, Lombardy, Piedmont and Liguria.

This distinction was used in 1990 when political scientist Gianfranco Miglio drafted constitutional reform and proposed giving autonomy to several parts of the country including Padania. Throughout the 1990s, several commentators discussed some sort of proposed union based on traditions and attitudes uniting the regions. 

Since 1991 Lega Nord, formed from a number of regional parties in Northern and Central Italy has campaigned for Padanian independence or larger autonomy. They even formed a Parliament in Mantua. 

There is some consensus around Italy and in Padania for a more federalist Republic, but support for independence is much lower. Polls from 2010 showed 45% would support Padanian independence, but 55% of Italians recognise Padania as a political entity and not a natural state united through culture, language or ethnicity. 58% of Italians and 80% of Padanians wish for federal reform. In 2000, just 20% of Padanians said they would support independence.

The team and their ConIFA history

Though they have not won the ConIFA World Football Cup, Padania have won both editions of ConIFA's European Championships in 2015 and 2017. They also won three of the five editions of the VIVA World Cup, a somewhat predecessor of the ConIFA tournament in 2008, 2009 (as hosts) and 2010. They did not enter the other two editions in 2006 and 2012.

Their squad will contain Marius Stankevicius, a former Lithuania international, who has played for a host of high profile clubs such as Brescia, Sampdoria, Sevilla, Valencia, Lazio, Gaziantespor and Hannover. 

Famous Padanians 

Notable indivduals from Padania include The Agnelli Family, Giorgio Armani, Franco Baresi, Silvio Berlusconi, Alessandro del Piero, Luigi Galvani, Salvador Luria and Paolo Maldini. 

Image rights from Wikimedia Commons.

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