Istanbul Rams withdraw from European League of Football’s 2023 season

The European League of Football (ELF) has announced via social media that the Istanbul Rams will not field a team in the 2023 season.

In the official ELF statement, the league cited the ‘overall difficult sporting and economic situation’ as the reason for the Rams withdrawal from competition. With rumors swirling last season of the Rams financial precarity, it seems to point towards funding being interrupted or costs underestimated.

The Rams’ Instagram post has stated that the team will resume their activities in the domestic Turkish league but does not make it clear whether they plan to participate in 2024.

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The inaugural season for the Rams was tumultuous to put it mildly. Following an exhilarating 40-38 loss in the league opener, Istanbul plummeted losing successive games until week 6 which saw them fall to the Hamburg Sea Devils 70-0 just before a bye week.

Following this overwhelming defeat, the organization reset and brought in a number of new imports including quarterback Isiah Green and wideout Terryon Robinson. This high level of talent combined with a now acclimatized domestic squad turned the team around.

After the bye week, the Rams collected their first win of the season against one of the league’s hottest teams at the time, the Barcelona Dragons. This win rejuvenated the team and although they didn’t win another game, they became competitive, taking the Sea Devils to overtime, the team that had trounced them 70-0 two weeks prior.

The Rams location and demographics were a welcome addition to the ELF, adding some diversity to an otherwise German-centric league. This departure does however points towards the mounting financial pressures put on teams as the league grows.

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.