IFAF New York affirms USA Football, IFAF Paris replaces with USFAF

IFAF factions from both New York and Paris released statements recognizing different American governing bodies.

As news of the expulsion of USA Football from the ranks of IFAF Paris reverberated around the world, the organization led by Tommy Wiking took the next, expected step and named the U.S. Federation of American Football (USFAF) as the official representative of American football in the United States. The USFAF are now the new provisional members of the Paris faction of the International Federation of American Football.

This addition comes amid allegations of anti-doping violations on the part of USA Football. IFAF Paris claims that USA Football ‘repeatedly refused to follow the anti-doping rules and that they have received multiple extended deadlines on which they didn’t reply, or refused to comply’ and ‘had no other choice but to expel USA Football and terminate their IFAF membership.’

According to the statement, USA Football is no longer a member of IFAF (Paris) and therefore does not hold any of the rights that belongs to an IFAF member.

This unprecedented move, expelling the largest single governing body of American football in the world outside of IFAF, was followed Tuesday by an announcement naming the USFAF as a provisional member of IFAF Paris.

“The IFAF Presidium accepted an application from the United States Federation of American Football (USFAF) to be a provisional member of IFAF. Its first activity in the international level will be participating in the World Games as official United States representative of IFAF.

“IFAF welcomes a new and very much needed chapter in the development of American football worldwide. The new US member will represent the whole football community of US”, stated Mr. Tommy Wiking, the IFAF President.

The U.S. Federation of American Football (USFAF) originally founded in 2009 to manage the operations in support of adult amateur football and the international club level team, The USA Eagles, which was founded in 2002. Since that time, Mr. Rudy Wyland has been the Executive Director and he was the Head Coach for the Eagles club team.”

Rudy Wyland, whose USFAF does not preside over any clubs or other organizations but instead organizes traveling teams, has been involved in American football internationally for almost 20 years.

The USFAF began as the USA Eagles in 2002, an organization that gave post-collegiate playing opportunities for American football athletes. The organization formed travel teams under the U.S. banner but branded as the ‘USA Eagles’. The organization has sent over 500 athletes and coaches to 14 countries playing in more than 35 games in Europe and Mexico. The USFAF has no affiliation with USA Football or the NFL.

Originally formed in 2009 as a vehicle for their travel team model, the USFAF was restructured in March 2017 in to obtain non-profit status and continue its work as a recognized 501(c)(3) organization. The move meets IFAF Paris’s new membership criteria which were passed in September 2016.

IFAF New York was quick to issue a statement on Tuesday affirms that USA Football remains the recognzied governing body of American football.

“USA Football, the national governing body of amateur football in the United States, is a valued member of IFAF and the international football community. Also recognizing USA Football as the sport’s national governing body are:

International Federation of American Football (IFAF),
United States Olympic Committee (USOC),
National Football League (NFL),
National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the
National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS)

Richard MacLean, President of IFAF said, “We wish to be clear and unambiguous. USA Football remains a valued member of IFAF and the international football community. We do not recognize any other body from the United States.” MacLean continued, “All nations are aware that there have been issues concerning the leadership of international football since a minority of nations walked out of the 2015 Congress in Canton, Ohio, to hold their own meeting. We, supported by our members through a resolution at our Congress in New York in 2016, have applied to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to have our case heard and to seek a final resolution to this matter”.

Background to the USA Football’s ouster

The latest chapter in the ongoing saga of the crumbling of the International Federation of American Football started with the World Games. 

In 2014, Tommy Wiking as president of IFAF, signed an agreement with the IWAS World Games LOC to provide four international American football teams as American football is going to be one of four invitational sports in the 2017 World Games which will take place in Wrocław, Poland, from July 20th to 30th.

The World Games, first held in 1981, are an international multi-sport event, meant for sports, or disciplines or events within a sport, that are not contested in the Olympic Games. The World Games are organized and governed by the International World Games Association (IWGA), recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Pending the IFAF New York CAS decision, the IWGA and the IOC recognize Tommy Wiking’s IFAF Paris as international football governing body.

However, the split in IFAF and the United States – USA Football – aligning themselves with IFAF New York has become an issue for the World Games. According to sources close to World Games organizers, without a legitimate representative from the USA, Wiking and IFAF were facing a lawsuit from the World Games LOC. Not to mention both the Polish federation and government have already made a substantial investment in this highly visible event. The transformation of the stadium in Wroclaw into an American-football specific facility with the World Games in mind was an expensive undertaking. The possibility the Polish government would get involved was not out of the question.

So for IFAF Paris and Tommy Wiking, there was a great deal at stake. Thus the need for Rudy Wyland’s and the USFAF arose and brought us to this latest impasse.

What’s next?

Roger Kelly
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.
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