The 2015 World Championships – A Dream that Became a Nightmare

The top Swedish American football siteSFN.com – has put together a timeline of what is believed to have occurred over the life, and eventual demise, of the 2015 Stockholm IFAF World Championships.

Below is a interpreted translation that originally appeared on swedishfootballnetwork.se.


What has been whispered about for a long time, and become a poorly preserved truth in recent weeks, was made official on Friday. The 2015 IFAF World Championships will not be held in Stockholm.

Read the full American Football International article on cancellation here.

This has triggered anger, disappointment, disgust and shock among football lovers, not just in Sweden, but around the world.

Here SFN will make 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’sSwedish American Football Federation – pertinent board meetings.

Although this information is in point form, it still gives us a decent idea of what transpired.  In addition, we now have better insight as a result of the credibility and transparency of the people involved. 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.

The following excerpts are from all occasions in which the World Championships are mentioned in SAFF meetings during the relevant period.

The timeline surrounding the 2015 World Championships (all references to the World Championships in FS meetings are listed below, chronological order)

  • September 18th, 2010SAFF is at work on the application for the World Championships.
  • December 3rd, 2010SAFF submits official application to host the 2015 World Championships.
  • August 17th, 2011Michael Roos (SAFF Board member) reports contacting a company, American Football World Wide Ltd. (AFWW), to engage them so as not to expose SAFF to financial risk in the event that the World Championships is a loss. Contact with IFAF concerning contract signing is mentioned on the same occasion.
  • September 23rd, 2011 – The framework of the agreement with AFWW approved by the Board of SAFF.
  • September 29th, 2012Markus Magnell hired as president of the World Championships’ AFWW organization.
  • October to December 2012Markus Magnell now working 50% as CEO.
  • December 8th, 2012 – Decision taken to move organizer responsibilities for Swedish finals 2013-15 from SAFF to AFWW.
  • January 1st, 2013 – December 31st, 2013Markus Magnell will work 100% as CEO. In April 2013, Tommy Wiking announces that funds have not been delivered as agreed, to explain why Magnell has not received full compensation for his work. Magnell terminates his contract as CEO in September 2013 with three months notice. In the summer of 2013, Andreas Ekman begins to work with the World Championships.
  • May 11th & 27th, 2014Tommy Wiking suggests that Mikael Gustafsson and Hans Ragnesjö review the contract with the ‘WC Company’ to see if there is a need for change.
  • August 24th, 2014 – All tournament tickets for the 2015 World Championship are released.
  • September 27th, 2014Michael Roos informs the other SAFF members how the work of the 2015 World Championship is progressing.
  • November 4th, 2014Hans Ragnesjö suggests that Tommy Wiking, Minette Rogner and Hans Ragnesjö sign on behalf of the Swedish American Football Federation (Reg No 802013-4428), two jointly.
  • December 6th, 2014SAFF, in the form of Mikael Gustafsson, informs SAFF’s member associations at a meeting that the 2015 World Championships are at risk, and gives background as to why the situation is as it is.
  • December 19th, 2014 – The World Championships in Stockholm are officially canceled/moved.

Breakdown

So what can we make of this when we compare it to what has been released in the media and presented in the SAFF press release?

It seems there is a great deal (we do not claim to cover all angles here) to reflect on.

First off, the company ‘Amfium’ mentioned widely in the media, is the same company that the SAFF board was referring to as ‘WC Company’ when reported in the meetings in the beginning of December 2014 related to the World Championship. This company is never mentioned in any minutes from SAFF board meetings, but consistently refers to AFWW as it’s partners. When (or even if) the responsibility for the 2015 World Championship was transferred  from AFWW to Amfium does not appear in any documentation communicated by SAFF.

The fact that Amfium was party to the agreement with Markus Magnell has been documented and also the fact that SAFF at that time (October 2012) was the sole owner of Amfium.

The whole board of SAFF, except Tommy Wiking, claims a lack of, or nonexistent transparency in the World Championship Company (it is unclear if this refers to AFWW or Amfium) despite the fact that as late as May 2014 they were given the task of checking the contract for any changes. It is not clear from the minutes, whether this examination was carried out or not. Despite the decision, there is no listing found in the subsequent minutes that an examination took place or what even suggested to have taken place.

As early as April 2013, Markus 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 World Championship. Despite this, the minutes of the board meetings contain no information pertaining to this, which suggests that either they did not know about it, or did not consider it worth mentioning in these meetings.

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

As a side note it should be mentioned that a lawsuit against Tommy Wiking was initiated, as reported in Göteborgs Posten, but this was not tied to the World Championship company.

It will be necessary to conduct a much more in depth investigation to really understand what happened.

Hopefully this provides some insight as to some of the reasons for the loss of the World Championship to Sweden.

Written originally in Swedish by Leo Billgren

John McKeon
John McKeon is a former professional and collegiate American Football player and coach now living and working in New York. His goal is to spread news, information, and opinion on the global growth of the sport he loves.
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