Delegates celebrate successful 2023 at IFAF Congress in Paris

More than 80 attendees representing 31 nations from five continents attended the annual International Federation of American Football (IFAF) Congress in Paris, France, to review the most successful year in the international federation’s 25-year history and to plan for an exciting future.

In 2023, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) awarded IFAF full recognition and confirmed that American football will feature on the official program of the Olympic Games for the first time in history when flag football makes its debut appearance in Los Angeles 2028. IFAF hosted inaugural Continental Flag Football Championships in the Americas, Europe and Asia, in addition to European Championships in men’s, women’s and junior tackle football across Europe.

Delegates from the following nations attended the gathering at the Stade Jean-Bouin in Paris: Austria, Belgium, Cameroon, Canada, Czechia, Denmark, El Salvador, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Ivory Coast, Japan, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Serbia, Sweden, Switzerland, Tunisia, Turkey, and the United States.

In his opening speech at Congress, IFAF President Pierre Trochet thanked the host French federation for their hospitality in the city of Paris, where IFAF established its headquarters 25 years ago, and the city that brought the Olympic flame back to life more than 100 years ago.

“We must continue to grow so that this Olympic adventure serves as a springboard for our sport for the next 20 years across all formats and all levels,” he told the attendees. “I am aware of the sacrifices made in recent years, but we confidently look to the future. Our new playbook must continue to build on our pillars – Serve, Inspire, Grow, and Compete – with new ambitions centred around development, commercial activities and empowering our members.

“As we look to the future and to a new era of global development and enormous opportunity, we must not forget the spirit of unity, partnership and humility that brought us here. In the end, we are each only guardians of football. Our job is simple: to protect it, cherish it and return it stronger to the next generation.”

IFAF delegates approved a motion to elect three accomplished administrators to fill vacant Continental Representative roles in Gregor Murth (Europe), Mr. Awasum Junior (Africa) and Daryll Nathaniel (Asia). They will serve a term for the period 2023 to 2026 alongside incumbents Javier L’Episcopo (Americas) and Russell McConnachie (Oceania).

Prior to performing official Congress business, the delegates received presentations from IFAF partners providing valuable resources to member federations, which included: Jonny Turner, Sport:80; Cam O’Riordan, etrainu; Ed Hawkins, ITrustSport; Max Koessler, IFAF Academy; and Afia Law, International Flag Football Development & Youth Marketing Manager, NFL.