IFAF Under-19 World Championships Kick Off Under A Pall of Uncertainty

The International Federation of American Football Under-19 World Championships kick off June 29 in Harbin, China under a cloud of uncertainty. Seven nations will compete for the title last won by Team USA in Kuwait in 2014 when they defeated Canada 40-17.

The tournament opens with Australia playing China on Wednesday June 29. The championship final is scheduled for Sunday, July 10.

A great deal has happened since the last tournament.

IFAF has split into two entities and the faction headed up by Tommy Wiking has not sanctioned the event in China. The “other” IFAF led by Finland’s Rooper Noronen, is behind the organization working with a group in China. Interestingly, China is still not a member of IFAF. The case regarding the leadership of IFAF will be presented to the International Court of Arbitration later this year.

In fact, one member of the IFAF Asia board, Mishaal T. Fahad Al-Sabah from Kuwait, went so far as to say that they did not sanction the tournament:

“IFAF did not sanction this tournament therefore we cannot sanction this tournament. What a small number of rogue nations decide to do does not reflect IFAF or IFAF Asia.”

It is not clear which nations are considered “rogue nations”.

Ironically, two countries from AsiaChina and Japan – are participating in the event which has been held every other year since 2009. Japan has placed third twice.

A total of seven countries will compete in the 12 day tournament led by Team USA, Canada, Mexico, Japan, Austria, Australia and China.

The key nation missing is Germany who had qualified for the tournament. Emails sent to the German American Football Federation (AFVD) asking for the reason Germany is not participating have gone unanswered.

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