Örebro Black Knights Knocked off Sweden’s Tyresö Royal Crowns Twice in 24 Hours

The Örebro Black Knights threw a wrench into the plans of the Tyresö Royal Crowns  by upsetting the previously undefeated club Saturday 28-25, earning the right to play in the Swedish championship final for the third straight year.

But a technicality overshadowed the upstart Black Knights celebrations and cost them the game.

And then within 24 hours they were given the win back again.

Displaying outstanding defense and an opportune offense, the Black Knights surprised Tyresö Saturday taking a 14-7 halftime lead, extending it to 21-7 and then holding on to survive a furious late game rally from the Royal Crowns to secure a heart-stopping win.

However, the Swedish American Football Federation ruled that since the Black Knights had used ineligible players, they had to forfeit the game, the victory and championship final berth. Instead the game was awarded to the losing team, the Royal Crowns.

It seems that three junior players that Örebro has had on their roster all season were ruled ineligible. The club had not filed an application for the three to play in time. The team has been filing to have the three players on their roster every game all season long before the appointed deadline. But apparently, according to  the Swedish American Football Federation’s Competition Committee (TU), the Black Knights had filed a few hours too late and thus ruled that those players were not eligible to play.

Sweden - Orebro v Tyreso-1-4

Örebro receiver Johan Stål scores a touchdown with Royal Crowns defensive back Philip Minja draped all over him.

When Örebro’s initial mid-week appeal fell on deaf ears and the federation warned that any attempt to play the three juniors would cause the team to forfeit the game regardless of the outcome, the Black Knights went ahead and played the three anyway, as two of them were starters on a very thin roster.

No one, it seemed, had counted on an Örebro victory as the Royal Crowns had been playing superb football all season and had defeated the Black Knights a few weeks ago.

So it came down to bureaucracy to determine the second finalist in the Swedish championship. The federation had awarded the game to the Tyresö Royal Crowns initially, but after an appeal by the Black Knights to the Competition Committee, late Sunday night the committee reversed the original decision and gave the victory back to the Black Knights.

Breathing a sigh of relief, Örebro head coach Randy Beverly and his team  could start preparing to face the Carlstad Crusaders in the title game.

According to the Black Knights,  the rule in question is vaguely worded and can be interpreted in different ways. In fact, the clubs in Sweden’s Superseries allegedly lobbied in the offseason to have the rule amended but the federation did not do so.

Needless to say, the Black Knights are happy with the decision and with the victory. Örebro Black Knights chairman Ida Jensen:

“We played a fantastic match yesterday and purely on a sporting level we won a great victory and are very proud. We realize that we had differing views on how the rules are to be interpreted, but are pleased that our appeal was approved.”

Besides, now Carlstad Crusader head coach Malik Jackson finally knows who to prepare to play.

Photo credit: Alexander Nielsen

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.