Switzerland Votes to Remain Neutral in IFAF Leadership Fight

The Swiss Federation of American Football (SAFV) held one of their three yearly meetings this past weekend and high on the agenda of the day-long proceedings was IFAF – International Federation of American Football – and IFAF Europe. The 20 club presidents and nine executives on hand discussed a number of other issues including possible rule changes for the Swiss league as well as the schedule for the 2017 season, but a crucial discussion was IFAF and Swiss membership in IFAF Europe and which of the two IFAF factions to follow.

Naturally, recent developments in IFAF and IFAF Europe were of a concern and according to the president of SAFV, Glenn Chase, he and the other attendees spent just under an hour discussing how to proceed.

Chase said that the group voted unanimously to remain a member in good standing in IFAF for the time being. However, they intend to remain neutral in terms of the IFAF leadership affiliation and the internal power struggles of the presidium until the legal system (Court of Arbitration for Sport and/or an appropriate and legally recognized body), makes its final decision. Not until that happens will SAFV decide its future within IFAF.

The alternative, to pull out of IFAF, would have serious financial consequences for Switzerland. With IFAF being recognized by the International Olympic Committee, each national federation in IFAF receives some level of funding. A pull-out would be slow financial suicide according to him.

“Essentially, we would lose a good 5-7 years of progress. Our national team platform would have to be dissolved.”

A number of nations in Europe are uncertain about how to move forward with such a deep division between the two factions purporting to be the actual IFAF. The Paris Congress held by the Tommy Wiking led faction in September, introduced a raft of new statutes including the formation of Continental Federations to replace the former Continental Committees.

It seems that the seemingly hasty actions of the new IFAF Europe Continental Federation have drawn the ire of a number of nations and individuals including Great Britain’s Gary Marshall. His response to what he considered to be questionable voting procedures which came under scrutiny is scathing.

Against this background, many European countries are weighing their options, trying to decide what path to take.

With more and more nations remaining on the sideline awaiting some form of legal decision, and two major European football federations – Denmark and Finland – suspended by the Wiking faction, will a decision by CAS be enough to restore unity?

Roger Kelly
Roger Kelly is an editor and a writer for AFI. A former PR Director the B.C. Lions of the Canadian Football League for 7 years, he now lives in Sweden writing about and scouting American Football throughout the world.
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