Football is finally returning to normal in many countries

After a half-filled, and in some cases postponed, schedule for many European and Mexican teams in 2020 and 2021, football is finally returning to a semblance of normality in 2022.

Outlined below is a list of some of the major countries’ domestic schedules for the 2022 season (please note that only the top league from each country has been highlighted and that not all the schedules have been finalized. Also, a number of countries have not been included due to a lack of information). The countries have been listed in order of season start.

Spain – LNFA Serie A – January 15

Spanish Bowl Champions 2021 – Badalona Dracs

The Spanish domestic league traditionally kicks off European football with a January start, avoiding the hotter months of the year. The same happened this season and the defending champion Badalona Dracs are in the hunt for their sixth consecutive championship.

The emergence of Barcelona Dragons in ELF last year shook the Spanish league up with many talented Spanish players leaving their domestic teams for the ELF. How much of an impact that will have on the 2022 season remains to be seen.

France – DI Elite – February 12

Casque de Diamant Champions 2019 – Thonon Black Panthers

French football is finally set to return after a two-year hiatus. Not much is known about the balance of power in France but each team will surely be fighting to put their name forward for the best team in the country.

The league is set to kick off on Saturday, February 12 with a national broadcasting deal already signed with the league.

Mexico – LFA – March 4

Tazon Mexico IV Champions 2019 – Condors de Querétaro (now Gallos Negros)

The Mexican LFA league is another competition that was hit hard by COVID-19. There has been a reshuffling of players and teams as new owners compete.

The NFL’s IPP Combine in Mexico towards the end of last year will have turned some heads towards the country. Look for some young Mexicans to make a name for themselves.

Italy – IFL – March 5

Italian Bowl Champions 2021 – Parma Panthers

The newly named IFL (previously FIDAF), has made a conscious effort to diversify its audience in 2022 with a more English-friendly approach to its marketing.

This being said, the Italian league had an excellent season last year, with highly competitive games throughout. The Parma Panthers did however run away with it, going undefeated and knocking off the defending champion Milano Seamen in three separate games, ending their Italian Bowl streak.

Parma will undoubtedly be favorites again, but not by a lot.

Switzerland – March 26

Swiss Bowl Champions 2021 – Calanda Broncos

After a couple of seasons of reduced play due to the pandemic, the Swiss league will roll back into action during their regular spring/early summer season. The Calanda Broncos, winners of the last four (including 2021) championships, will again be the favorites.

Austria – AFL – March 27

Austrian Bowl Champions 2021 – Swarco Raiders

With the departure of the Raiders and the Vienna Vikings to ELF, the balance of power has been reset in Austria. Teams such as the Danube Dragons and Graz Giants will look to claim the title that has eluded them for so many recent years.

The league recently announced its schedule with the Dragons playing in the first game being on Sunday March 27 against the newly promoted Salzburg Ducks.

Denmark – Nationalligaen – Late April

Mermaid Bowl Champions 2021 – Copenhagen Towers

The Danish league proved popular last year with competitive games throughout the regular season. The Copenhagen Towers clinched their ninth Mermaid Bowl victory with a 24-7 victory over the Søllerød Gold Diggers.

Europe – Central European Football League, CEFL – April

CEFL Bowl Champions 2021 – Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns

In a thrilling finish, the Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns defied odds and claimed victory over the Swarco Raiders in 2021’s CEFL Bowl Championship game.

This year will see new teams like the Parma Panthers and Danube Dragons enter in a bid for the throne. The initial stages of the competition will be in April with some teams receiving a first-round bye.

Germany – GFL – May 21

German Bowl Champions 2021 – Dresden Monarchs

It’s hard to believe that a team that has stayed dominant for so long has never won a German Bowl, but Dresden Monarchs were that exception until 2021.

QB Kyle Carta-Samuels tore the league apart on his way to the German Bowl, putting together one of the best offenses the GFL has seen in years. But it was the running game that earned them their first ever trophy.

The GFL was the premier league in Europe for a long time. With the emergence of ELF primarily in Germany and waves of players leaving their domestic clubs for ELF, the balance of power is now starting to shift away from the GFL.

Despite ELF claiming to be the best league in Europe in their inaugural year, GFL seemed to prove otherwise by putting out a high quality product on the field time and time again. We will see in 2022 how much the GFL has actually lost.

Poland – PFL – April

Polish Bowl Champions 2021 – Bydgoszcz Archers

The dominant Wroclaw Panthers were another heavy-hitting team to leave their domestic league for the bright lights of ELF this year, leaving the league wide open.

Despite Bydgoszcz Archers proving favorites throughout the regular season, the PFL still provided some close games and competitive endings. This year will undoubtedly provide the same. The league will commence in the beginning of April.

Sweden – Superserien – May

Swedish Bowl Champions 2021 – Örebro Black Knights

Örebro Black Knights claimed their first Swedish Bowl in club history in 2021, despite reaching the title game seven times previously.

The league has had a shaky two-year period with COVID-19 impacting teams hard. This year the Scandinavian country will surely be looking to bounce back with a full schedule in early May.

Finland – Maple League – May 14

Maple Bowl Champions 2021 – Kuopio Steelers

Kuopio stunned audiences in the Maple Bowl in 2021 by shutting out one of the best offenses in the league and winning their second straight title.

The Helsinki Roosters dominated the Maple League for years, but it appears as if the tides are finally turning. 2022 will surely be the season to see if the Steelers are for real or not.

The league will commence in mid-May.

Europe – European League of Football – June

ELF Championship Game 2021 – Frankfurt Galaxy

The European League of Football divided Europe last year. Many observers said that it was doomed to fail with promises it couldn’t keep, while others said it was the spark that European football needed.

One area the league did excel in was production. A European league hasn’t seen anything like it since the days of NFL Europe. The on-field play was on a par with the best teams in Europe.

But with the high level production will always come the players. With the entrance of the Austrian powerhouses, the Vienna Vikings and Raiders Tirol, into the ELF, even more European players have left their domestic clubs to play under the bright lights.

Daniel Mackenzie is a Press Association graduate who works in journalism and communications in the third sector. Daniel began playing football for the London Warriors and Team Great Britain and has since played across Europe.