The only Cup that is played on the five continents

Various overseas teams join the Coupe de France forcing French clubs to make more than 12,000 kilometers.

Can you imagine a club tournament that takes place on five continents? Well it exists. La Coupe de France, one of the most special in European football, is characterized by including the best teams from overseas territories in November, to the point of forcing French clubs to make endless trips of more than 12,000 kilometers .

The overseas territories are officially considered French soil. In fact, if one attends to the political map of France, one may find that several departments that are considered dependent on the French administration are included. Specifically, they are the following: French Guiana (South America), New Caledonia and French Polynesia (Oceania), the Reunion and Mayotte Islands (Africa), Guadeloupe, Martinique, Saint Martin and Saint Bartholomew (North America) and Saint Pierre and Miquelon (Central America). They all gather their best teams every year to play the Coupe de France.

Today, at 8pm, the seventh round of the French Cup opens and four overseas teams do it. Le Moule against Jeunesse Evolution (two teams from Guadalupe) and Golden Star against Club Franciscain (two clubs in Martinique). In fact, the Franciscain Club is the team with the most leagues in Martinique (19) and that in 1993 reached the semifinals of the CONCACAF Champions, falling to the Aiglon Du Lamentin, another classic of these rounds of the French Cup. Tomorrow will be a turn for St. Georges Guyane and CS Cayenne, of French Guiana.

This Sunday, several teams will cross the Atlantic Ocean to play matches against clubs from another continent. The Saint-Pierroise, team of the Reunion Islands, will travel to Jura to play against the Jura Sud, of fifth French division. AS Vénus, one of the most successful clubs in French Polynesia, will play at home the seventh round match against Racing Besançon, a team that left players like Chafni (former Auxerre) or the current Saint-Étienne player, Romain Hamouma . For its part, the Sainte-Mariénne, a team in which they began their first steps as players of the likes of Payet, Sinama-Pongolle or Guillaume Hoarau, will receive at home the Versailles, the Ile France team and that plays in the sixth French division.

You may wonder, and how can amateur clubs afford to make such expensive trips to other continents? The French federation signed in 1975, the first year in which the overseas clubs joined the Coupe de France, an agreement so that all the teams that had to make this type of route were fully paid for by the federation itself. France's centralism in football with respect to Overseas is total, since teams like Tahiti or Martinique had to ask the Elisha for permission to make their own selection. And Faubert, the first player to wear 10 with the French team after Zidane retired, was the first player to be international with both France and Martinique. Malouda, who was French international and then played with French Guiana, ended up sanctioned because, unlike Faubert, he played official matches with France.

Overseas clubs do not usually go from thirty-second finals, which is the round in which Ligue 1 clubs are already incorporated. However, in 1989, Galder Kourou of French Guiana reached the sixteenth final, becoming the first overseas team that did it, although he was beaten by Nantes in a round-trip qualifier with a 0-11 overall for the Ligue team 1.

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