NatWest International Island Games in Guernsey 2023

The Western Isles men’s football team are back in next summer’s NatWest International Island Games in Guernsey after the withdrawal of one of the competitions confirmed sides. 

Western Isles Island Games Association (WIIGA) Team Manager Iain ‘GG’ Campbell expressed his delight at the unexpected invitation for the men to be able to compete in the 2023 Games after they had originally missed out in a random draw.

Due to time and capacity issues, at what has become a prestigious event, team competitions, including men’s football, are restricted to sixteen teams. Nineteen of the member islands had entered the Guernsey 2023 Games and as a result a draw took place in September with the Western Isles just missing out as first reserve.

WIIGA Team Manager Iain ‘GG’ Campbell has been contacted by the Guernsey organising committee to advise him that one of the other member islands has decided to withdraw from the competition and at a meeting of the WIIGA Committee last night the offer was unanimously accepted.

“News that a place has become available for our team was really unexpected but very welcome. Losing out in the original draw was hard to take and upsetting for the squad of players. I’m delighted for the team,” he said. “The management team have been informed of the good news and really looking forward to getting the squad back together. The WIIGA committee will now consider the financial and logistical implications involved in taking what will be our biggest team so far to a Games.”

The delight was echoed by WIIGA Chair Norrie ‘Tomsh’ MacDonald who added: “This is such good news for WIIGA and men’s football. We are well aware that there is an exciting group of young players across the islands who were looking forward to testing themselves in Guernsey and on to Orkney 2025. Now they have the chance to do just that and I am delighted for them.”

Next summer’s NatWest International Island Games XIX will take place in Guernsey between July 8-14, 2023.

Guernsey 2023 will be the first Island Games with football since 2017 after Gibraltar dropped the sport in 2019 due to a lack of facilities. The Western Isles were one of 10 islands that played in an unofficial tournament in Ynys Mon that year.

The Western Isles made its football debut at the 2005 Island Games in Shetland - where they picked up a bronze medal - and have gone on to compete at the 2007, 2009, 2011, 2015 and 2017 events with a second bronze coming in Rhodes in 2007.