Helsinki Roosters pull out of NEFL/ECTC; no Nordic team in playoffs?

The Helsinki Roosters defeated the Copenhagen Towers 22-18 this past weekend to win the NEFL(Northern European Football League)/ECTC (European Club Team Competition) Northern division and promptly announced that they will be pulling out of the remainder of the Northern European Football League games and the European Club Team Competition in 2019.

The Roosters had already played two games, beating the Stockholm Mean Machines 21-19, and then Denmark’s Copenhagen Towers 22-18 and had qualified to advance to play Austria’s Dacia Vienna Vikings in the ECTC playoff round the weekend of June 8/9 in Vienna. But now Helsinki won’t be going.

Although the news caught most people by surprise, according to new Roosters president Jenni Hakala, the International Federation of American Football, IFAF, had already been informed of their intentions months prior to the game.  Hakala is the head of Helsinki’s new board of directors that had only  taken over early in January. After examining the club’s financial situation she and the board realized four months ago that the tournament was too expensive for the Roosters organization.


“When the new board took over for the Roosters in January this year after the former board had committed to the tournament, we discovered that the funding was simply not available for this venture. The costs of travel and hotel accommodation in late May were simply beyond our budget. Our club supports multiple levels, not just the men’s elite team. We cannot afford it and we told IFAF as soon as we made the decision.  Of course the decision was not optimal but in bigger picture as a club we need to secure also the continuity of all other teams and operations for the whole forthcoming season.’The Roosters would like to thank IFAF for the opportunity to play only at the group stage and wishes all the teams good luck for the final stages.

The decision may not have been made public had the Towers held onto the lead late in the football game this past weekend. But Helsinki prevailed and then were forced to issue the statement.

Although IFAF Europe Chairman Gregor Murth, was made aware of the situation early on, plans were already so far advanced that he convinced Helsinki to continue with the group stage.

“The Copenhagen Towers had already sold the home game against Helsinki to sponsors and could not cancel. So Helsinki agreed to play but let us know if they won they would not play the road playoff game. We did not put this news out simply because if Stockholm or Copenhagen had won, this would have been a moot point. The Towers management is mulling this over and will let us know their decision soon.”

With Helsinki dropping out, the next candidate to face the Vikings would be the Towers. But so far there is no word as to whether they will commit.


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