IFAF Congress in Paris adopts new statutes, structure

With controversy swirling and a rival IFAF Congress taking place in New York on the same day, the IFAF Congress in Paris, led by Tommy Wiking, was busy this past weekend as the leadership, new statutes, and the establishment of a new continental federations were all approved by the nations in attendance.

Tommy Wiking re-elected

IFAF Congress adopts new statutes

In a release issued via the International Federation of American Football  (IFAF) Facebook page and on efaf.info, which are both under the control of Wiking’s faction, the following release related to new IFAF statutes was released on Saturday. You can read Wiking’s IFAF’s statutes in full here.

The IFAF Congress at Paris on September 17th has unanimously voted in favor of a new structure for the International Federation of American Football (IFAF). The goal is to implement standard procedures and organizational approaches for the world’s governing body for American football which are common practice in most other global sports associations, especially those of recognized Olympic sports. The statutes of IFAF dated back to 2001, and some of the regulations were out of date and needed to be adjusted to today’s world.

In a move to meet the requirements of the IOC in regard to good governance and anti-doping policies, precise regulations for these are now laid down in IFAF statutes. As sports, sports policy and in particular these of IOC recognized organizations are in the public eye more than ever before, it was necessary for IFAF to provide members and operative personnel with guidelines, how to fulfill expectations not only within the American football community but also within society in a whole.

Furthermore the new statutes also allow for a more swift way of running the federation. All member federations in an annual general meeting are in full power of deciding on all policy guidelines or statutory changes. For IFAF this “General Meeting” replaces the “Congress” in the future. For operational work during the year the new statutes add more flexibility and give the presidium and the managing committee ample scope to move forward. For example, the increased possibilities to also use electronic media to discuss and decide democratically without need to meet in person, unforeseen in the old statutes, were taken into account. Board and managing committee should thus be able to react more quickly to any developments that may arise in-between the annual full general meetings.

In recent months it became obvious that structures within the global governing body for American football needed to be changed, especially in the process of attaining full IOC recognition for IFAF and the sports of American football. IOC granted preliminary recognition already, in March an extraordinary IFAF congress had to be convened to open up the chance that IFAF’s pledge could be discussed at the IOC session in Rio de Janeiro during the Olympic Games. IFAF President Tommy Wiking got the opportunity to attend the IOC session, the annual general meeting of the IOC, and the Olympic Games with IOC accreditation and to represent IFAF and the sports of American football to the Olympic community.

A decision on permanent IOC recognition of IFAF is now expected for the IOC Session 2017. Ahead of important talks regarding this matter the delegates demonstrated unanimity in Paris. The new statutes were adopted unanimously, delegates of 54 countries attended, well more than twice as many compared to last year’s IFAF Congress in Canton. The continued worldwide growth of American football accounted for the induction of four new member federations this time, Albania, Bahamas, Portugal and Uganda, and the constructive and substantive discussions underline that after a difficult period a spirit of optimism can be felt again within IFAF. A notion that certainly will help in the upcoming talks with IOC representatives as well in the organizational efforts for the international competitions of IFAF.

Tommy Wiking (Sweden) was confirmed as President of IFAF and re-elected for the next four-year-term. Robert Huber (Germany) was elected as Senior Vice-President, Sahin Komurcu (Turkey) and Prof. Leoluca Orlando (Italy) as Vice Presidents. Marco Antonio Cobar (Guatemala) was elected as Treasurer, Janice Ward (Ireland) as Secretary. Furthermore Michel Daum (France) as a Legal Officer, John Mahnen (USA), Anon Raras Mitayani-Hahn (Indonesia) and Namdev Shirgaonkar (India) were elected into the new presidium.

Attempted To Quash New York Congress

However, in an interesting move, apparently, in the days leading up to the congresses, Mr. Wiking’s group attempted to quash the New York congress by submitting a request for an injunction to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to prevent it but the request was allegedly turned down.

Founding of IFAF Europe Continental Federation

The congress also announced the formation of a new  IFAF Europe Continental Federation. It seems though that not all the people cited in the new board have actually accepted their positions. There seems to be some controversy still which is in the process of being resolved.

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John McKeon
John McKeon is a former professional and collegiate American Football player and coach now living and working in New York. His goal is to spread news, information, and opinion on the global growth of the sport he loves.
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