Eight Teams Now Confirmed for 2015 IFAF World Championships in Canton, Ohio

After meetings held in Arlington, Texas in conjunction with the International Bowl, according to the official Mexican American Football website ONEFA  eight teams (reduced from 12) have now confirmed they will play in the 2015 IFAF World Championships in Canton, Ohio.

The (1) United States, (2) Canada, (3) Japan, (4) Mexico,(5) France, (6) Australia, (7) South Korea and (8) Panama (should they qualify today) have all confirmed that they are in. The eight teams will play in a single group format, presumably like a playoff, with the seedings as given above.

Sadly, Germany, Austria and Morocco (as of this meeting) have decided to withdraw while the 12th team, Sweden, had qualified only as the host country and thus is no longer considered for the competition.

With the cancellation of the 2015 Stockholm World Championships IFAF has been scrambling since December 19, 2014, to find another venue (which they did when USA Football stepped up) and then confirm the participation of the 12 countries who had committed (with the exception of Brazil and Panama who must wait until after their qualification game).

Prior to that meeting, the IFAF Executive Board had given final approval to hold the tournament in Canton, Ohio according to José Luis Ayala of Joslar Sport. Apparently, China submitted a late proposal (according to Ayala) which was considered, but ultimately turned down. The proposal arrived too late for serious consideration. However, with football now on the rise in China it would seem to be a viable alternative at some point in the future once they become members of IFAF. Had that bid been accepted, Ayala claims that the United States and Canada would have pulled out, although the reason for that cannot be confirmed and thus the claim must be taken with a grain of salt.

A great deal remains to be done and still more questions need to be answered. If Brazil wins Saturday’s game against Panama, will they be in a position to participate, and if not, will it be a seven team tournament?

Several of the countries are still looking for funding and if they do not meet their funding goals, will they somehow still play in the tournament?

Will all the facilities needed be ready in time in and around Canton, Ohio?

What is the political fallout of Germany and Austria pulling out?

All these questions and more await the board of IFAF.

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.