Sweden’s Carlstad Crusaders Will Turn Down Big6

According to the Swedish newspaper Värmlands Folkblad, Sweden’s seven-time champion Carlstad Crusaders will tell the Big6 on Monday that they will not be playing in the tournament in 2017.

Apparently, the Crusaders had a deadline of Monday January 16 to notify the Big6 if they were in or not. And club director Robert Sundberg has told VF that his team will turn down the invitation after weeks of discussion:

“We can’t place ourselves above our federation.”

The Swedish American Football Federation told the Crusaders in late November that they are not allowed to play in the tournament since it is not sanctioned by the “New York faction” of the International federation of American Football (IFAF New York, ifaf.org), the faction that the Swedish federation recognizes.

“We have had a player meeting and we have decided not to oppose our federation. We had hoped that they would come to their senses. We shall stay neutral. They can run their dictatorship and ignore their members.The Big 6 needs an answer by Monday and if the federation has not changed its mind by then we will tell the Big6 no.”

Sundberg said the main reason they are turning down the tournament is that they managed to find out how they would be facing punishment if they were to ignore the federation’s decision.

“It would have probably been enough if they would have given us a reprimand, so that everyone could come out of this with their heads held high. Especially now that the United States and Poland will play in the World Games together with Germany and France. The same goes for the European Junior Championship. Then it’s okay. But not in a club tournament … We’ve lost the urge. I will not say that we have given up, but it almost feels like that. We will not continue fighting.”

The World Games tournament is scheduled for later this year in Poland. The United States and Poland (host country) are slated to play in it along with the national teams of Germany and France. With the split in IFAF and the United States recognizing IFAF New York and Germany and France recognizing IFAF Paris (Poland remains more or less neutral at this point) the situation is muddled at best.

As to playing another tournament in Europe, Carlstad is still uncertain. IFAF New York apparently is trying to organize some form of European club tournament but no one seems to know if this is actually happening.

“We would be interested if they [IFAF New York] could offer a tournament at a high European level. But no one at this point has even been able to present an invitation to us. They say they have a few teams finalized but we don’t know and we haven’t heard anything.”

Now, it seems that the Crusaders are taking matters into their own hands:

“We have received an invitation from a team in Europe to play a friendly match with them, that we really love. We are working on getting another team that could come here and play and that the two then met there. Make a mini tournament. But we are waiting for a response from other clubs.”

The Crusaders have contacted teams in Austria, Poland and the Czech Republic.

“If that doesn’t work out, we will try to invite a college team or something like that. We definitely want to find international competition for our players.”

So far the Big6 has five teams definitely set to play and with this decision will have to search for a sixth.

Source: Värmlands Folkblad

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