American Football International

PART 1: Cancellation of the IFAF World Championship in Stockholm

This is the first article in a series recounting the events that have led to the current International Federation of American Football (IFAF) Congress controversy and impasse.

In this installment we take a look back at the events that took place leading up to the cancellation of the 2015 IFAF World Championship in Sweden.

Back in December, Sweden’s top American football site, swedishfootballnetwork.se, put together a timeline of what is believed to have occurred over the life, and eventual demise, of the 2015 Stockholm IFAF World Championship.

What had been whispered and become a poorly kept secret the prior weeks, was made official on Friday, December 19th, 2014 when it was confirmed that the 2015 IFAF World Championship would not be held in Stockholm as planned.

The cancellation was triggered by two facts:

  1. There were insufficient sponsors for the 2015 Stockholm WCs. The SAFF board claimed they had no knowledge of lack of sponsorship until the fall of 2014 and had been kept in the dark regarding such matters.
  2. December 31st, 2014 was the last day SAFF could cancel the booking of Tele2 Arena in Stockholm without penalty.

This triggered anger, disappointment, and shock among American football lovers around the world. This is an attempt to get to the bottom of why events that would have been a huge boost for the sport went so horribly wrong.

SAFF Board Meeting Minutes

An important source of information describing the processes behind the 2015 World Championships is of course the minutes of the SAFF’s – Swedish American Football Federation – pertinent board meetings.

From this we can draw a picture of what we consider to be the background for the failure of the attempt to organize the 2015 World Championships.

In addition to the excerpts, we have included bullet points that add context to the timeline.

The timeline surrounding the 2015 World Championship (referenced as WC.)

This is a critical point because AFWW, or Amfium, effectively now controls the fate of the 2015 IFAF World Championship, without oversight from SAFF or, arguably more importantly, IFAF. It is worth noting that Tommy Wiking is at this point the President of both SAFF and IFAF.

Breakdown

There is clearly a great deal to reflect upon.

The company ‘Amfium’ mentioned widely in the media is the same company that the SAFF board refers to as ‘WC Company’.

This company is never mentioned in any minutes from SAFF board meetings, but consistently refers to AFWW as its partner, presumably because SAFF transferred responsibility of the IFAF WC to Amfium.

As early as April 2013Markus Magnell was unable to obtain his contractual remuneration for work as president of this company. This should have been a stark warning that something was not right in the financing of the 2015 IFAF World Championship.

Despite this, the minutes of the board meetings contain no information pertaining to the danger, which again suggests that they were unaware of the mounting crippling issues facing AFWW/Amfium.

The fact that tickets were released for the WC in August 2014 indicates that, at that time, it was still considered likely that the 2015 World Championship would take place as planned.

It is unclear if SAFF knew that Wiking was under investigation for embezzlement and fraud for stealing money from a non-profit anti monarchy movement for which he was the treasurer.

What is clear is that Tommy Wiking, who the breakaway IFAF group has hailed as its President while citing transparency and ethical standards, allegedly faces two charges relating to financial irregularities in his native Sweden and still held the position of SAFF President and IFAF President when the future of the WC was entrusted to AFWW/Amfium.

Look for more on this soon.

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