The Danish National League had achieved what very few leagues in the world had done, holding a football season, only to watch it all come crumbling down as playoffs were about to start.
Denmark’s American Football Federation, DAFF, was forced to make the announcement yesterday that everyone in the game had dreaded; the playoffs and Mermaid Bowl, the Danish championship game, had to be cancelled with no winner to be declared due to a new government clamp down on COVID-19 restrictions.
The five teams competing in the NL, – the Copenhagen Towers, Aarhus Tigers, AaB 89ers, Triangle Razorbacks and the Søllerød Gold Diggers – had managed to play through a five-game per team regular season.
Chairman of the NL Committee, Casper Reinhardt:
“We are incredibly sad that it is unfortunately not possible to implement the National League under the restrictions that currently apply to Danish sport. Our semi-finals were postponed last weekend at very short notice, when the new tightenings were announced, where we had the two semi-finals planned for the next day. We hope that in 2021 there will again be an opportunity to run our sport at a high international level in Denmark.”
The Danish government announced late last week, the day before the playoffs were about to start, that all gatherings of people larger than 50 people, were banned until further notice. The ban had been for 100 prior to that, barely making it possible to hold the games in the first place.
Still, the teams had struggled to comply with the restrictions limiting the number of sideline crew, the size of rosters and even the broadcast crews. This new reduction down to 50 made it impossible.
The NL had appealed to the Sports Confederation of Denmark but were told late Wednesday that no exemptions would be allowed.
The Mermaid Bowl had been scheduled for October 3 and all the clubs agreed that if it was impossible to play the championship game on that day, then the league had to be canceled.
“For every day we extend the season, it will inflict financial costs on the clubs, money that would ultimately have to be found from elsewhere in the budgets. So with long prospects for an opening in the assembly ban, it is necessary to cancel now, with a view to preserving the future of the National League.”
The head of football for DAFF, Lars Carlsen was full of praise for how the National League teams and all the volunteers had managed to organize a shortened season:
“It has been impressive to see the commitment the clubs have made to have a shortened NL season, under some difficult conditions. They have done a great job of ensuring that all current corona guidelines have been complied with, so that the games have been carried out in a socially responsible manner. A big thank you to the clubs for that”.
Coronavirus situation in Denmark
Denmark was one of the first countries in Europe to introduce a strict lockdown this past March, keeping coronavirus infection rates at an extremely low level. However, a significant spike in the number of cases of the virus and deaths, has forced the government to crack down hard. Since the beginning of September, the number of new infections has risen sharply in Denmark, climbing from 1,159 cases on September 1 to a record high of 5,355 as of September 23.