The 2018 Kentish Cup has been cancelled after the Dutch military’s team pulled out; the Dutch side had been due to play against British and French teams in the three way tournament at the end of October.
The Kentish Cup is the world's oldest military football competition, dating all the way back to 1921. The British side had been hoping to win a fourth consecutive victory this year but the Dutch withdrawal has scuppered that dream.
No official reason has been given but it’s thought that player availability is the most likely cause.
The UK Armed Forces team had been training hard for the tournament – with a number of high profile games against the German Army. Now with the competition cancelled, a sense of disappointment was inevitable:
“We were craving the opportunity to go to Paris and win a fourth Kentish Cup,” UKAF Head Coach, Flight Sergeant Nic de-Long, told Forces News.
“We’re sportsmen and we love winning in that Kentish Cup. It’s become so important for the best of the three services footballers. But I think probably from a historical point of view that’s a trophy that’s been ongoing a long time and we get it; we are not professionals so there challenges operationally at times.”
Instead the French have agreed to play a one off commemorative match on 30th October in Fontainebleau which the UKAF will now focus on – just days before the centenary of Armistice Day.
“With [the commemoration of a] hundred years [since] the Great War, the privilege the lads are going to get from doing that in a partner nation is a one off opportunity,” added Flight Sergeant Nic de-Long.
It’s hoped the Kentish Cup will return as a fixture in 2019.