Dutch Lions coaching staff quit en masse

According to Gridiron.nl,with only a month to go before the start of the IFAF European Championship qualifying tournament, the coaching staff of the Dutch Lions, the national team of the Netherlands, has had enough according to them, and have left the program as a group.

Head coach Michael Williams, who was hired in 2018, supplies the reasoning behind the shocking decision:

“It was a great honor to represent the Netherlands, but as a collective we have decided that we currently see no basis within the AFBN [American Football Federation of the Netherlands} to realize the plans we had in mind. A total shakeup of the system is needed to push American football in the Netherlands in the right direction.”

According to Williams, the decision was taken collectively after the withdrawal of the Dutch Junior Lions earlier this year from the U19 European Championships just prior to the tournament:

“We had to hear that news through the media. How can you make policy without money and without vision? Coaches with a GFL, NFL and NFL Europe past have worked hard to make something of this program and to create a warm family bond to fight for the European Championship, but in the end we didn’t feel enough support to build successes within the current structure .”

And that’s a shame, said Williams:

“The Netherlands has an enormous amount of talent. The only thing you have to offer is an environment where that talent is expressed. You could tell from the growth of the national team that we were on the right track, but within the union the problems are piling up and there is no money to continue building.”

Michael Williams resigned as HC of Dutch Lions

Williams said that the coaching staff informed the AFBN about two weeks ago, but after that there was no communication from the federation to the players.

“In a month’s time, the [men’s] game against Denmark is scheduled, but I feel that the federation is looking for a way out of their obligations without too many problems. So that without national teams the coming seasons will be meagre again. “

The AFBN responded with dismay to the message from Williams and Co. The federation itself only wanted to release the news when a successor for the coaching staff had been found.

“We are working hard behind the scenes to find a successor to face the competition next month,” said a spokesperson. “We only wanted to bring the news to the attention of an adequate successor to prevent unrest.”

The federation spokesperson continued:

“As a federation we think it is a great pity to have to read this. Mike has asked the AFBN for help several times since the beginning of the year and we have always offered that. With our full commitment. If there were any doubts about the commitment of the federation, then they were never spoken to us. We think that is a shame, because now it is too late to discuss this. “

The AFBN would like to correct and clarify a number of the statements made by Williams:

“If the communication regarding the withdrawal of the DJL [Dutch Junior Lions] was not satisfactory, the staff should have made this known to the federation. As a federation, it is very annoying to hear this as one of the reasons for leaving, more than two months after the fact. ”

After the withdrawal of the Dutch Junior Lions there was frequent telephone contact with the national team coach:

“Because he and his staff were worried about the consequences for his team. Those concerns were of course justified, but we were able to dispel them. Both the staff and the federation then focused on the trip to Denmark and the game against Finland. ”

“What we observe as an association is that the staff of Dutch Lions has recently started to doubt the feasibility of a good result against the Danes and the Finns and is trying to overcome this. With the iceberg in sight we consider it as a lack of responsibility that it’s the captain that is first to leave the ship and point the finger at others while jumping. ”

According to the federation, the reputation of the federation following the debacle with the junior team is being attacked at the expense of the program and the players:

“Unfortunately, the real losers in this story are the sport in the Netherlands in general and the players of the national team. They are now getting involved in a fight that you as a player do not want to be involved with at all. “

The AFBN is still busy finding a successor and hopes to be able to tell more about it soon.

The Dutch Lions are scheduled to play Finland October 12 and Denmark a week later on October 19 in Group C of the IFAF European Championship qualifying round.

Source: Gridiron.nl (translated from the Dutch)

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