Latest War Of Words From IFAF; Noronen Verifies Official Status, Hofman Disputes

The latest salvo, and return fire, in the International Federation of American Football (IFAF) leadership battle was issued this week in a pair of statements released by Roope Noronen and Zorica Hofman.

As most of the international American football community is aware, at last summer’s IFAF World Championships in Canton, Ohio there was a dramatic sundering of the IFAF leadership at the IFAF Congress meeting.

One administration, led by the former IFAF Vice President and current Finnish federation President Noronen, denied former IFAF President Tommy Wiking a spot among the IFAF Executive Board on the grounds that they had accepted his resignation in April of 2015.

Rebuking the rejection and denying the resignation, Wiking and his supporters held their own ‘Congress’ elsewhere on the hotel grounds, counting their own delegates, filing their own minutes, and claiming to be the one and true 2015 IFAF Congress in Canton.

Wiking later appointed Hofman as his General Secretary, and she in turn in issued this week’s statement.

Noronen’s statement, on IFAF official letterhead, announces that as of February 15, 2016 or earlier the French prefecture of the district in which IFAF’s headquarters reside – Prefecture de la Seine-Saint-Denis – has verified that his faction is the official governing body of IFAF.

At least, it seems that is what he says in the statement.Capture 2

In France, according to Wikipedia, “the prefecture is an administration that belongs to the Ministry of the Interior, and is therefore in charge of the delivery of identity cards, driving licenses, passports, residency and work permits for foreigners, vehicle registration, registration of associations (creation, status modification, dissolution), and of the management of the police and firefighters.”

So whoever is registered is, de facto, the “real” IFAF.

Documentation supporting this modification and verification of the status of IFAF’s headquarters and leadership has yet to be made public at the time of publishing.

The day after Noronen’s statement was released, Hofman, a supporter of Wiking and newly appointed IFAF General Secretary, issued the following statement;


In her email, Hofman attached a ‘Liste des Personnes Chargees de l’Administration d’une Association’ notarized on December 15, 2015 by the same Prefecture de la Seine-Saint-Denis. The ‘Liste’ contains names and positions inline with the Wiking faction’s appointments.

Also attached to Hofman’s email is a statement signed by Namdev S. Shirgaonker, President of the Indian Federation as well as the representatives of Kuwait, Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala and Turkey, mocking Noronen’s statement, refuting it on the grounds that Tommy Wiking never technically resigned on April 30, 2015 and that by French law he remains president of IFAF.

Therein lies the crux of the matter.

Did Tommy Wiking actually resign?

Breakdown of a breakdown

As the letter points out, he sent an email stating his intention of resigning on that date. Noronen acknowledged the “intent to resign” interpreting it as a resignation and the executive board of IFAF accepted it as Wiking’s resignation.

So the battle comes down, it seems, to whether the prefecture recognizes the Noronen faction or the Wiking faction. Both sides submitted the minutes of their meetings at two separate times. Both documents have stamps of registration. However, neither side has produced a document from the prefecture claiming them to be the actual IFAF and governing body of American football internationally.

Although many nations have publicly stated under which faction they are aligned, (USA, Great Britain, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Canada, Japan, and Mexico support Noronen; Kuwait, Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala and Turkey back Wiking).

Several key nations have remained silent the past months awaiting either the dust to settle or for one side to produce substantial and irrefutable evidence as the true leadership.

However with Wiking’s January call for an Extraordinary Congress on March 19, the issue has heated up and the stakes are now much higher.

A resolution must be reached. And soon.

John McKeon is a former professional and collegiate American Football player and coach now living and working in New York. His goal is to spread news, information, and opinion on the global growth of the sport he loves.