Italians in uproar over exclusion from IFAF European Championships

The Italian Federation of American Football – FIDAF, Federazione Italiana di American Football – is hopping mad. Team Italy has apparently been excluded from the IFAF European Championship tournament which was announced earlier this week.

According to the FIDAF, Team Italy has been left out of the tournament despite winning a qualifying game against Serbia in September 2016.

So they have issued a strongly worded statement:

Allegations have been made by the Italians that politics has played a major role in the exclusion of Italy.

” In the general turmoil, it seems that our country has been excluded for largely “political ” reasons and the situation is currently being examined by the FIDAF ’s lawyers.”

The Italians have even suggested that the fact that IFAF General Secretary Andy Fuller is British is a key factor to allowing Great Britain to participate at the expense of Italy:

“The request to possibly take part in and play a decider with Great Britain (which is ranked eighth behind Italy) has been turned down by IFAF’s Secretary General Andy Fuller who coincidently is British …”

Initially, qualifying tournaments were held in 2016 with the winners of the competitions, Great Britain and Italy, scheduled to play Denmark and Sweden who finished fifth and sixth respectively in the 2014 IFAF European Championships. The split in 2015 which produced two IFAF factions – IFAF New York and IFAF Paris – led to the confusion and the inability it seems to hold the final qualifier games.

Apparently, according to the Italian federation, Denmark turned down a request to play a scheduled qualifier in 2018 against Italy for the right to compete in the European Championships due to the political conflict and potential sanctions from IFAF New York at the time. Other sources claim that Denmark attempted to schedule a game but received no response from Italy.

AFI awaits documentation from both sides verifying the claims. Meanwhile, Italy is turning not only to the court of public opinion but also, allegedly, to its lawyers.

So while the IFAF conflict was thought to have been settled, the fallout would seem to be continuing.

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.