Women’s World Championship: Mexico forced to postpone opening game

Finland’s American football federation, the SAJL, announced today that Team Mexico, which placed third in the 2017 Women’s World Championships, will not make it to Finland for their first scheduled game against Team Great Britain.

A decision as to whether the game will be cancelled has not yet been announced. If it is cancelled, Mexico would be automatically eliminated from the medal round.

Details are still sketchy, but the Tercer Cuarto, a popular Mexican website covering American football, has been reporting on their social media sites that financial difficulties might be one of the problems. Yesterday, they posted on Facebook that some of the players were leaving for Finland:

“By contingents is how the Mexican Women’s National Team will be travelling to Finland, adjusting the availability of flights and the visa that players and staff have.”

TC’s Ernesto Senteins tweeted this morning that “90 thousand pesos ($4,448 USD) ‘has’ been budgeted to get the flight to Finland,” which suggests that money was an issue. TC also retweeted a commentator who posted that possible flights from Mexico to Finland leaving today.

None of that is definitive as to the reasons for Team Mexico’s absence from the scheduled first game of the WWC tomorrow. More information will no doubt become available, but the absence of the team that was the surprise of the 2017 WWC is a blow to women’s international football. The Mexicans played in their first international competition in 2017, and after losing by a respectable 29-0 to the eventual champion Team USA. They went on to defeat Team Australia 31-10, and defeated Team Great Britain 19-8 to secure third place.

As TC mentioned in a July 28 tweet, the Mexican federation had stated that “everything was ready for the girls to leave this Wednesday for Finland,” and “for different reasons so far they have not been able to start their World Cup adventure.”

For the athletes who have trained so hard for this moment, it must be a crushing disappointment. Team Mexico had the services of returning players such as running back Andrea Romero and Anna Greta Medina to lead them, but now their future path for these games is hard to discern. Some players have reportedly departed, so perhaps they can still salvage something.

Patric Malmstöm, the HC of Team Sweden, also commented that this was a tough situation for Team Great Britain, who had trained hard to meet Mexico.

Russ Crawford is Professor of History at Ohio Northern University in Ada, Ohio. His latest book, Women’s American Football: Breaking Barriers On and Off the Field will be published by the University of Nebraska Press in November of 2022. Along with several chapters on sport history, he has also published two earlier books. Le Football: The History of American Football in France was published by the University of Nebraska Press in 2016. His first book, The Use of Sport to Promote the American Way of Life During the Cold War: Cultural Propaganda, 1946-1963, was published by the Edwin Mellen Press in 2008.

Russ Crawford is an Associate Professor of History at Ohio Northern University in Ada, OH. He has published three books: Women’s American Football: Breaking Barriers On and Off the Field (2022), Le Football: The History of American Football in