American Football International

Italy kicks off 2019 season March 9

Nine teams will compete in next year’s Italy’s First Division League which kicks off the weekend of March 9, 2019.

The Milano Seamen will attempt to defend their title against their opponents in the 2018 championship game, the Bolzano Giants, along with the Torino Giaguari, Lazio Ducks (Rome),  Bergamo Lions, Firenze Guelfi, Parma Panthers, Ancona Dolphins and the Bologna Warriors (newly promoted from second division).

Two teams dropped out of the top division, the 2016 champions, the Milano Rhinos, and the UTA Pesaro.

Each team will play eight regular season games with the top six qualifying for the playoffs. The Italian Bowl, the championship game, will be held the weekend of July 6-7.

The teams will have two bye weeks, March 30/31 and April 20/21. The play-offs are set for June 15-16 (wild cards) and June 22-23 (semifinals).

The full schedule will be released in the next few weeks.

Two teams, the Milano Seamen and the Bolzano Giants will be competing in international tournaments.

The Seamen are one of seven teams competing in the Central European Football League, CEFL, tournament in 2019.

Milano will face Austrian powerhouse, the Swarco Raiders Tirol on May 11 and then head to France to play the Thonon Black Panthers on May 25.

The Bolzano Giants will take part in the CEFL Cup.