CFL/FIDAF to hold combine in Italy

The Canadian Football League has plans to expand the CFL 2.0 strategy and this year is setting up player combines in countries in Europe with Italy being the first to announce it.

This is a big step although not totally unexpected. The Italian Federation of American Football, FIDAF, the first European federation to announce a CFL/European combine, has a reason.

Of the 18 players who participated in the CFL Combine last March in Toronto, two were Italian – wide receiver Jordan Bouah and offensive lineman Alessandro Vergani. 

Bouah was drafted by the Ottawa REDBLACKS but was released by the team after training camp. Vergani chose to remain with his club team in Germany, the Schwabisch Hall Unicorns.

Italy would like to see more of its players in the CFL.

The FIDAF announced that the first CFL/FIDAF Combine will be held in January at the Guelfi Sports Centre in Florence. The exact date has not been finalized but apparently it will be mid to late January 2020.

The general consensus following the drafting of the initial nine European players into CFL teams was that a number of high quality players who could have had a bigger impact never made the trip. Of those original nine, only three, all linebackers/defensive ends, are getting any meaningful playing time, Germany’s Thiadric Hansen who plays for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, France’s Maxime Rouyer (Edmonton Eskimos) and Valentin Gnahoua, also from France, who plays for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Hansen has been in for 300 snaps recording five tackles and one sack. Rouyer has played 188 snaps and recorded two special teams tackles. Gnahoua was injured at training camp and did not get on the field until Week 9. Since then, in six games he has been on for 91 snaps and recorded two special teams tackles and a fumble recovery.

With so many players available in Europe, apparently the CFL aims to rectify this by holding combines in Europe.

According to the FIDAF, the CFL will support the Italian Federation by providing a well-structured training program to help Italian players prepare for the initial testing phase. Created by Canadian coaches and trainers, the program features targeted training and ad hoc videos. All players will soon be able to request the three-month training program when it is made available to the FIDAF.

The January tests will include the 40-Yard Dash, 20-Yard Short Shuttle, 3-Cone Drill, Vertical Jump, Broad or Standing Long Jump and Bench Press. In addition, a series of measurements (height, weight, arm length, wing span and hand size) will also be used by a special board of experts from Canada when assessing players’ performance.

This international event is a new and unique opportunity. The CFL Italian Combine aims to bring together the best over-18 Italian players in hopes that they will be able to join one of the most famous professional football leagues in the world.


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