IFAF World Championships Take Another Hit as Team Canada Pulls Out

To say that the 2015 IFAF World American Football Championships have been beset with problems would now have to be considered a grievous understatement.

According to Football Canada, despite all their best efforts, they cannot assemble a team to participate in the premier event of the International Federation of American Football (IFAF) which will be held from July 9 to July 18 in Canton, Ohio .

Shannon Donovan, Director of Operations for Football Canada:

“A number of factors contributed to Canada’s absence at the Worlds…. (o)ur player identification camps have produced a number of players, however, we suffered from a shortage of offensive linemen. It is significant financial and time commitment for the players as it includes three weeks away from work.”

When asked if the cancellation of the original tournament in Stockholm, Sweden and subsequent move to Canton, had any bearing on players’ decisions, Donovan stated that it did.

“The timing of the event has worked against us as a number of players at certain positions were not able to commit for the Worlds that were looking to make a CFL roster. The lack of funding and sponsorship as well as a strong U.S. dollar further compounded our ability to field a team in 2015.”

Football Canadal ogoThe work of Team Canada’s coaching staff comprised of some of the top university football minds in Canada was acknowledged in the statement.

Donovan added;

“This coaching staff led by head coach Greg Marshall volunteered their time with the goal of representing their country on the world stage and on behalf of Football Canada, we’d like to publicly thank the coaching staff for all their tireless work.”

Ironically, it was felt that if the games were being played in Europe or some other international venue, the players would have been more motivated to represent their country. But for these young men, many of whom have no other outlet to play American football if they are not playing in a professional or semi-professional league, to finance the cost of travel and accommodation and take three weeks off away from family and friends, the prospect was not appealing enough.

Football Canada.jpg.824x0_q85

Canada takes on Austria in opening game of 2011 World Championships

IFAF Managing Director Andy Fuller on Canada’s withdrawal;

“It is of regret that Canada will not be represented this summer but we look forward to what will be a great festival of football at such a historic venue. Details of revisions will be released in due course.”

This withdrawal makes three playoff teams from the 2011 IFAF World Championships in Austria who have declined to participate in the “amateur” American football world’s top event. Both Germany and Austria declined to participate once the event was moved to Canton, Ohio.

How does this affect the future of the game on an international level, and what does it do to the reputation of IFAF – the International Federation of American Football – the sport’s ruling body?

Let us know your thoughts on the Canadian withdrawal!

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.