A group of Australian players have been lucky enough to have been selected to represent Australia at the 2015 IFAF World Championships and thankfully Gridiron Australia has let Victorian players represent.
but what sort of tournament are they headed too?
2015 IFAF World Championships have been plagued with problems starting with the venue for the tournament. Originally Stockholm in Sweden was the host for the event but on December 19 a press release was sent out announcing that Stockholm would not host the World Championships.
In comes USA Football to save the day, in late January IFAF announced that it has decided to confirm that there is enough support for the 2015 IFAF World Championships to go ahead this summer in Canton, Ohio.
IFAF had received a confirmation of participation from the USA, Canada, Mexico, Japan, South Korea, Australia and France under the new conditions of the new venue and was waiting on the result of the qualification game between Panama and Brazil.
European 2014 champions Germany as well as Austria and Morocco were still to make up their minds if they would be participating in the World Championships.
Now lets look at Canton Ohio, it may be the home of the Football Hall of Fame but it is a small town with around 80,000 people is it set up to host up to a 10 team tournament? In the statement, Germany questions USA Football’s choice of location of Canton. They appear to dispute Canton’s ability to facilitate the participating nations, as apparently no fields, facilities, or accommodations have been booked.
No need to worry, Germany, Austria and Morocco are not going to be in Canton this summer. Both Germany and Austria are claiming the cost to sent a team to the USA rather than the much closer Sweden is the reason they have pulled out but Germany also points out the rushed nature of the tournament and lets not forget they don’t have a good relationship with IFAF right now.
It is a huge blow to the World Championships not to have the strongest two teams from Europe in attendance, you would also suspect that France is only going because they are bidding for the 2016 Junior World Championships and it would dash any hopes of hosting that event if they pulled out as well.
So in late April the dates for the World Championships are set and the schedule is released, I am not going into detail about the tournament structure of games because oh no… bye bye Team Canada.
Shannon Donovan the Director of Operations for Football Canada said “A number of factors contributed to Canada’s absence at the Worlds…. (o)ur player identification camps have produced a number of players, however, we suffered from a shortage of offensive linemen. It is significant financial and time commitment for the players as it includes three weeks away from work.”
This is just about the worst news that IFAF could have received at this point but they plough on and announce Walsh University in North Canton will be an “international village” residence and practice site for the seven remaining countries whose national teams will be competing.
On the 9th of May delegates from the seven attending nations, USA, Mexico, Japan, Korea, France, Australia, and Brazil toured practice fields, meeting rooms and training facilities at Walsh University as well as Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium.
So here we are, less than two months out from the 2015 IFAF World Championships with 8 of the 71 IFAF nations in attendance.
I hope for the sake of all players going to these championships that there are no other problems, but I have a much bigger question “What is wrong with IFAF? and how does it get fixed?”