Concacaf membership would be 'huge' for Greenland

A football match on a gravel pitch in Greenland
Greenland's harsh artic climate means football matches are played on gravel pitches or artificial turf [Getty Images]

Greenland manager Morten Rutkjaer says membership of Concacaf would be "huge" for the Arctic island, after it applied to join football's governing body for North and Central America.

Greenland, which has never played competitive international football, is a sovereign territory of Denmark but is geographically part of North America.

It has a population of just 57,000, though that is larger than some existing Concacaf members including Montserrat and Saint Kitts and Nevis.

"Our goal is to build up an organisation and then in eight to 10 years be able to play with a competitive team," Rutkjaer told Reuters. "There is still a long way up to nations like the USA and Mexico, but we can dream."

Greenland is unable to join Uefa because the European governing body only admits countries recognised by the United Nations, but there is no such requirement for Concacaf.

"This is huge for Greenland," added Rutkjaer. "It may well be that we will have a hard time in the games, but it's about daring to take on bigger countries and being proud to play for Greenland."

Greenland is the world's largest island and covers an area greater than the size of western Europe, but 81% of its land mass is covered by sheet ice.

According to the official Greenland tourism website the country has 76 football clubs and 5,500 registered players, around 10% of the population.

However, the harsh Arctic climate means football can only be played outside for five months of the year and on gravel pitches or artificial turf.

Head of the Greenland FA Kenneth Kleist said plans are in place to build more indoor pitches and a partnership agreement with Iceland could see the Nordic country host home games.

"National pride has a lot to do with the idea of ​​independence, so being able to play international football matches will mean an awful lot for Greenland," Kleist told Reuters.

Rutkjaer's side take on Turkmenistan in a friendly in Turkey on Sunday.