The International Federation of American Football held its second “unified” Congress in four years, this time in London, England.
This was the second time IFAF has held a Congress following the CAS ruling earlier in 2018 naming Richard MacLean as the true president of IFAF.
IFAF President Richard MacLean:
On Saturday November 2nd I was privileged to chair our annual Congress in London.
This Congress was important. It was important as it allowed IFAF to lay out our top line strategy to guide our work for the next four years. It was important as it allowed us to demonstrate how we intend to capacity build our operations across the continents. It was important as it allowed distinguished guests to gain an insight into our work and engage with our members. Finally, it was important because it allowed nations to come together, sharing thoughts and ideas, and explore how they can contribute to the growth and development of football around the world.
I was delighted to see that we had representation from nations spanning our five continents and it was pleasing to hear of the commitments being made to drive forward programs designed to allow more people to participate in football whilst at the same time, raising standards to enhance the experience those participants get.
We had the opportunity to reflect on three world class tournaments in held in Europe this year. Our hosts in Italy, Israel and Great Britain have set a high bar and we are truly grateful for the efforts of their staff behind the scenes to make these events so special.
Setting out the current financial position of IFAF was always going to be a challenge. The backdrop to everything we do is the ongoing effect of recent years of legal cases and the removal of funds from IFAF bank accounts. IFAF has been fortunate to have benefitted from significant loans from a number of parties that have enabled us to demonstrate the legitimate leadership of IFAF. These loans however, require repayment. It is important that we strike the right balance between ensuring that we meet our loan obligations and ensure those that have loaned us money are not significantly disadvantaged whilst also maintaining an investment in the organisation and the sport.
Our budget allows us to continue to work towards these aims and we now have scope for continents to consider how they can effectively consider they can raise their own revenue and spend it against annual plans which align with the priorities and policies we set globally.
We also look forward to renewing our work on International Transfers. Evidently there are a number of opinions on international transfers, from fees to operations. We have welcomed the thoughts already submitted and will send out further details as to the thinking on international transfers shortly.
In order to set effective budgets and development plans for continental activity we need effective committees who can work collaboratively and present their plans to the Continental Director and to the Executive Board. Our presentation on the structure of how our committees will operate was a real positive and builds upon the excellent report we received from the independent review undertaken by GAISF and ITrustSport earlier this year. It is clear that there is significant opportunity for us to ensure that we can maximise the knowledge and skills of people from across our membership to support our reaching our objectives.
In the coming weeks we will advertise for roles across committees spanning each of the continents and also look to recruit interim representatives for the Athlete’s Commission.
We welcomed the presence of the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (CCES), our new partners for anti doping. We will greatly benefit from their expertise when it comes to shaping our anti doping work for the coming years.
Finally, I would like to thank the Board and those who have continued to deliver for us over the past year. The achievements we have made collectively have relied heavily upon a number of volunteers. We are all grateful for the time and energy those people put in.
I look forward to welcoming nations to the 2020 Congress in Canton, Ohio.