2015 IFAF Europe Champions League; Letter of Interest to Federations

IFAF Europe Gauging Interest in Intra-Continental Club Play in 2015

IFAF Europe has circulated a brief Letter of Interest to all IFAF Europe American Football Federations. Clubs that wish to participate in the 2015 IFAF Europe Club Team Competition, last year known as the IFAF Europe Champions League,  have been asked to express their interest by filling out the letter and returning it to IFAF Europe. The letter is non-committal, however, it must be submitted to the IFAF Europe offices no later than this Saturday, November 1st, 2014.

IFAF Europe Champions League

The IFAF Europe Champions League held its inaugural competition in 2014, with 13 teams divided into 4 regional groups. It was the very first club competition organized by the new European branch of the International Federation of American Football.

I can only assume, but it would seem that the 2015 competition will most likely take a similar form as this past year’s.

Ideally I imagine four full groups of four teams that will play a round-robin schedule on weekends between April 19 and May 17, which will leave four Group winners that will advance to a play-off format. Group winners will meet again on June 14 before a break for the 2015 IFAF Stockholm World Championships, and conclude with the Champions League Final on July 26.

Continent-Wide Participation

IFAF EuropeLast year, teams from Finland, Sweden, Denmark, England, France, Spain, Italy, Serbia, Austria (only the Cineplexx Blue Devils) and Turkey competed in the tournament. The tournament culminated on July 13th, 2014 when the Helsinki Roosters (Finland) defeated the Vukovi Belgrade (Serbia) in Elancourt, France.

Noticeably absent from last year’s competition were some of Europe’s top club teams from Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. Some of these clubs participated in an invite-only competition named the Big 6 Tournament, which ended in Eurobowl XXVIII, when the Berlin Adler (Germany) handed the New Yorker Lions (Germany) what turned out to be their only loss. The New Yorker Lions went on to dominate the remainder of their German Football League schedule and win the German championship a few weeks ago.

As you can see from our coverage of the German Football League (GFL) and the Austrian Football League (AFL) and our most recent Europe’s TOP 20, we at AFI believe some of the best American Football in Europe is played in Germany and Austria. But how can we truly know unless a continent-wide competition is held.

Politics and infighting have prevented a true continent-wide club competition in recent years and I believe that this has hurt the the progress of European American Football. I truly hope that all the hard feelings and bureaucratic excuses that have impeded the development of the game have now been placed aside for the sake of growth.

That said, last year’s IFAF Europe Champions league tournament did not go off without a hitch. The finals venue was abruptly changed from Le Mans to Elancourt, France, and AFI heard from a few players and coaches about the lack of organization surrounding the entire weekend. This maybe first-time jitters, but IFAF Europe needs to run this competition professionally and smoothly moving forward.

Room For All

As of this date of publishing, AFI is unaware of the requirements for participation in the 2015 IFAF Europe Champions league. However, we are aware that clubs often take a loss when they agree to participate in these international club competition because of expensive entry fees and hefty expenses related to travel and lodging. This often discourages clubs with thin margins, regardless of their quality and level of play, from believing that participating in extra-national competitions is beneficial to their organization.

We plan on learning more about IFAF Europe’s entry requirements and will discuss in a future article.

Having said that, the Letter of Interest Form to all Federations is out and, deadline for teams to show their interest for European competitions is November 1st. If you are a member of a club and have not heard from your Federation, contact them!

As of now, we do not know how many teams have expressed interest.

Below is a list of European Federations from the IFAF website.

  • Poland
  • Estonia
  • Greece
  • Portugal
  • Finland
  • Russia
  • Moldova
  • Turkey
  • Belgium
  • Spain
  • Slovakia
  • Bulgaria
  • Hungary
  • Belarus
  • Germany
  • Great Britain
  • France
  • Netherlands
  • Italy
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Croatia
  • Luxembourg
  • Ireland
  • Romania
  • Norway
  • Austria
  • Ukraine
  • Israel
  • Denmark
  • Serbia
  • Czech Republic
  • Slovenia

We urge all federations and clubs to respond as quickly as possible if that has not been done already.

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.