Swedish Federation Says Big6 Is Off Limits For Carlstad Crusaders

After a great deal of discussion and a flurry of emails between IFAF New York, the Swedish American Football Federation – SAFF – and Sweden’s top team, the Carlstad Crusaders, SAFF has said the premiere club tournament in Europe, the Big6, is off limits to the Crusaders. Carlstad has already been accepted by the Big6 to play in the 2017 tournament.

IFAF New York has not sanctioned the Big6 tournament and since the Swedish federation is a supporter of IFAF New York, it has said no go to Carlstad. If the Crusaders play the tournament, they face dire consequences.

Politics has taken an even deeper step into the game of American football. At least in Europe.

The Crusaders are not happy. To say the least.

With a total split between IFAF New York and IFAF Paris and no reconciliation in sight, international American football is in a state of flux. Both sides seem to want to forge ahead as if nothing is the matter. Neither side seems willing to budge.


But the teams simply want to play. No matter who organizes the event. Enter the Big6, an annual tournament held for three straight years involving at least four of the best teams in Germany and Austria while also including top teams from other countries. Since each international tournament held must be sanctioned by IFAF (which one no one knows), Sweden’s Carlstad Crusaders find themselves in a dilemma.

The Swedish American Football Federation are supporters of IFAF New York. The Big6 tournament is not sanctioned it seems by that body. It is arranged under the auspices of the American Football Association of Germany (AFVD), supporters of IFAF Paris.

The Crusaders say they just want to play against the best competition they can find. In fact, this is a recruiting tool. The more games against top competition, the easier it is to recruit great talent.

As of now, the only international competitions available to the 1,000 or so teams in Europe are the Big6, the European Football League – EFL  and the IFAF Europe Champions League. There are a few other less prominent tournaments such as the Atlantic Cup involving teams from Ireland, Holland, Belgium and Luxembourg. But that is it. All of these events are now organized by national federations or in association with the European arm of IFAF Paris.

IFAF New York has not stepped in as yet to fill the gap.

Hence the dilemma for Carlstad.

If they go ahead and play in the tournament they risk suspension from Sweden’s Super Series for the 2017 season according to the Swedish federation. They can however appeal to the Swedish National Sports Confederation.

If they don’t play and cannot find an alternative tournament, they risk losing players.

According to Robert Sundberg, Carlstad’s general manager, the club will put it to a vote:

“We will ask the players. That is the best way. As long as they realize the possible consequences and have all the facts, then they should be the ones making the decision.”

European summit this weekend may resolve issue

The European Federation summit conference in Italy this weekend may help though. The 13 nations, including Sweden, will be discussing other types of competitions for clubs in countries facing this dilemma.


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.