Chinese Government Approves New American Football Association

In a brief release issued last week, the Chinese State Sports General Administration of Sports Management stated that they have officially approved the National American Football League of China to help develop American football in China.

This is the first move on the part of the government in China to put the pieces in place necessary to grow the 11 man game of American football in this enormous country.

According to the NAFL, their first order of business is setting up coaching clinics later in April in Beijing. The clinics will be run by veteran college and international coach Jim Criner through his group the American Football Coaching & Teaching Academy.

According to Kong Yinuo, league chairman, the name National American Football League of China is a bit of a misnomer since his organization will not be forming a league, at least not initially. They will be providing their clinics to all other groups and organizations in China to teach and certify American football coaches.

With leagues in place already such as the American Football League of China, which recently held its third straight championship gameKong and the NAFL should be able to offer clinics and certification to a growing number of current and future coaches.

As Kong told the China Daily:

“The league is like a big family for all those who love American football, a game that is loved by more and more Chinese.”

The league is a joint venture by the Non-State Owned Investment Committee of the IAC, the China Institute for Development and Reform of CUFE and the Beijing United Union Sports Corp.

AFTCA clinics all encompassing

The AFCTA clinics will run over the course of four weeks (weekends) and coaches will receive full certification at the end.

Criner says this will be one of the most comprehensive clinics he has ever been involved in:

“I don’t think there has every been a program like this with the lectures and the hands-on instruction with the coaches. We will have four stations and the coaches will rotate executing the techniques they just learned.

“Having the templates pre-paired with diagrams will make it easy to follow and they will not have to take their eyes off the professor for any length of time. Also, they can record in Chinese. In addition to the use of power point, 90% is backed up by video/DVD.”

About the AFCTA

The American Football Coaching and Teaching Academy  (AFCTA) has been conducting coaching clinics, along with player camps, for the past few years in Europe. Jim Criner is a veteran college (Boise State) and NFL Europe (Scottish Claymores) head coach and heads up the organization and as Executive Director has arranged numerous clinics throughout Europe over the past several years.

The AFCTA held five clinics in Europe in 2014 including stops in the Czech Republic, Norway, and France. In 2015, Criner & Co. trekked to Spain, Denmark and Sweden along with Holland and Germany. Including China, his travels in 2016 have also included Serbia.

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.