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Sunday, September 25, 2016

There has been a lot of speculation about IFAF Europe Chairman Goran Nisavic and Vice Chairman Gregor Murth resigning, even after the open letter (in case you missed it - click HERE).

Following the resignation, IFAF (Wiking) has formed new IFAF Europe, where not all European federations are currently members, and where Dr. Gregor Murth was appointed as the Treasurer. Dr. Murth never accepted the position, and has decided to clear the air, along with sharing what led to the resignation at the "old" IFAF Europe.

The letter was sent out by the Austrian Football Federation (AFBÖ), where Dr. Murth serves as the Vice Chairman.

To whom it may concern,

I am writing this to clarify my personal position on the matters below. As I have a stake in these matters as member of the board of the Austrian Football Federation (AFBÖ) it is sent out by AFBÖ.

As I am sure that a lot of speculation surrounds my non-acceptance of the position as treasurer of IFAF Europe, I want to clarify the reasons behind my decision.

1. I think that a restart of a European federation should not start on the terms of just one of the groups fighting for the leadership in Europe. It was my idea to gather everyone for a European meeting and to vote there for new statutes and a new board. Every decision would have a majority and in the end there would be a compromise acceptable to anyone. But now the statutes are already finalized by the Paris Congress, making this inacceptable for other nations, especially the ones gathering in NY. Any side claiming to speak for a majority should not be shy to have a vote on their proposals. There was no rush to finalize this in one step but doing it wasted the whole effort.

2. The number of federations without leagues has increased a lot lately. The reason behind might have different motives but I do not think that federations without championships should have the same vote as countries participating in EC/WC or Club team competitions. Albania, Cyprus, Greece, Iceland, Kosovo, Lithuania, Macedonia, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan are neat places but I have not heard too much about football being played there. Don’t get me wrong, fostering development there is a noble thing that should definitely be done. But if they have no teams some of them may only be set up to create majorities. So for maximum transparency I think federations should be recognized in their country and represent at least two teams playing in some kind of league. Otherwise there will always be mixed emotions after elections/decisions.

3. Kicking out 6 respected federations is very serious. The newly found requirements for anti-doping tests are surprising anyway. When we (AFBÖ) asked for details we did not receive any. Aside from Anti-Doping there are other laws that we have to follow, as personal rights are heavily protected in Austria/Europe. Without more details on the process it is impossible to say if we are able to follow.

4. Not only that federations can be kicked out of the new federation quite easily but in my eyes the new statutes shift the balance of power too much into the direction of the IFAF board. Especially in times when trust is not our biggest asset, I think this a mistake. The trust of all members needs to be earned and not imposed by a board.

5. I think Goran Nisavic did a decent job, trying to hold everything together. Replacing him with someone who is clearly attributable to one side cannot create trust. It just shows what this all is about. Enrique is a great guy but he will have an uphill battle trying to prove that he is not just serving one side. Reading the last mails he circulated are not able to reduce my concerns on this.

Any of the points above alone would probably not disturb me too much. But with all these points together I think the outcome will be too unbalanced to be able to quickly unite Europe and probably the world again.

The hope for regaining a united world federation now depend either on some CAS verdict or a new majority of countries not willing to follow the path of confrontation. Both are unpredictable and highly uncertain.

I will proceed to work with federations on international level but as it stands right now I think that I am not able to identify enough with this „new“ IFAF Europe to be one of its highest officials today.


Gregor Murth
Former Vice President IFAF Europe

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Photo: Slaweg Foto
Importance of football camps is undeniable - from developing programs to already established ones. We recently came across BookerASE (Booker's Academy of Sports and English) - and since we had a chance to watch coach Booker do his thing in Warsaw (Poland), we knew this is something we wanted to highlight!

Coach Booker has been living in Warsaw for the past few years, and he also coached Warsaw Eagles for 2 years (WR/DBs). We wanted to know who are people behind the camps, besides him.

- My partner is Tadeusz Tarach. He is a former Eagles player that now runs his American football and Crossfit shop U Tadka out of Warsaw. He is the behind the scenes guy and does most of the dirt work. Setting up funds, gather equipment and speakin with GM or teams. He is a great asset to communicate in Polish. My wife Monika Booker and Tadek's wife Magda Tarach have help with organizing and paperwork issues. I spend my time dealing with players and coaches that join our camp staff. I am more hands on as I enjoy building relationships with people and working with the community.

BookerASE provides tools for youth and adults to increase their English awareness though many different sports and recreational activities.

- The idea behind the camp is to give Polish players, women and men, the chance to improve their skills. No matter their skill level and experience. The idea started by noticing many players around Poland lacked the basics of the game. - says coach Booker.

The very first camp took place not too long ago - August 28th, 2016., and the number of participants was outstanding for a first camp - It was a full camp with all positions working on basics of technical skills for positions, blocking, tackling, and special teams. We had 61 players from 14 teams in Poland. We also had 20 wonderful staff members.

Second camp is already in the works, and it's scheduled for October 16th, and it will be a charity event to benefit Breast Cancer Awareness and will focus on WR/DB. All proceeds will go towards the cause. Both events will be in Warsaw.

- As of now camps focus on skill training and development for on field play. As we grow, we will put more into theroy and strategy. That being said, most players have been lower level leagues but we had Top Liga and National team players attend in the first camp and a few have signed up for the second one.

Photo: Slaweg Foto

We had to ask what are some of the things coach Booker has noticed that Polish players lack on/off the field.

- Their are a few issues. The first being that clubs in Poland put a great deal of effort in obtaining import players and not enough energy in its local talent. Polish players are who win games so why not make them the best they can be!

Another issues is the lack of community involvement. American football is a great way to do good things for the community. Yet most teams focus on the bottom line.

The many things Polish players lack is experience and the correct knowledge of the game.

Investing in youth is important, especially properly coaching the juniors. Coach Booker recognizes that and says there will be junior camps in the near future - Following our WR/DB camp, we will host a Juniors only camp. 

In the future, we plan to hold weekend camps which will focus more on video sessions, team only camps, and community service projects. We will also be holding camps outside of Warsaw so that players don't have to always travel only to Warsaw.

For more information about the camps and how you can sign up - please visit BookerASE facebook page.

Friday, September 23, 2016

After resignations of IFAF Europe's Chairman and Vice Chairman (Nisavic and Murth), caused by IFAF Paris Congress (Wiking) structural statue changes, which didn't sit well with many - IFAF sent out a press release about the new IFAF Europe. In case you missed the open letter - click HERE.

The new IFAF Europe is not consisted of all European federations, while Denmark and Finland were suspended on anti-doping grounds (more about that - HERE). In addition to that, new board was named - where the new IFAF Europe Chairman is Enrique Garcia de Castro (Spain), Vice Chairman - Sahin Komercu (Turkey), and the rest of the board are: Lesley Moreels (Belgium), Romeo Tjoe-A-On (Netherlands), Thomas Ahlberg (Sweden), Jedrzej Steszewski (Poland) and Gary Marshall (Great Britain), Gregor Murth (Austria).

Announcement of the new board has caused some stir, as some of the above mentioned didn't vote. So, a new press release came out where Murth was left out, while Marshall was the last one so far to contact the new chairman, and their correspondence is now public.

We're bringing a few paragraphs from 3 different e-mails from Garry Marshall, while (new) IFAF Europe press releases and full Marshall-Garcia de Castro correspondence can be found HERE, where you'll be redirected to AFI.

I hereby instruct you to immediately remove my name from the letter sent today (September 21st 2016 at 6.47 titled LETTER TO MEMBERS IN EUROPE) and issue a retraction of the claim that I voted in favour of anything mentioned in your letter.
If you do not do this I will be taking legal advice as to how to pursue matters.
In a communication dated September 19th 2016 (in reply to an email entitled Re: Calling for a vote about interim leadership) I questioned both the legality of your calling such a vote and also the time frame you wanted to enforce for the vote.
I have not and will not vote in favour of any such notions or motions that you put forward.
There was no unanimous decision, there cannot be a unanimous decision if there is even one vote against. You must release the actual votes ‘for’ in an open manner and say who voted in favour and who voted against. I have correspondence from IFAF E Board members stating they did not vote, that coupled with the fact that both Goran and Gregor didn’t vote makes a mockery of both of your claims to have even had a basic majority vote let alone a unanimous one. Please stop trying to pass this off as anything other than what it is, a poor (and invalid), attempt to cling onto power and influence. 
This is their first lie – over the weekend of 17th/18th September I was in Worcester GB representing the IFAF Europe Board at the IFAF EC 4 Nation qualification tournament organised by BAFA. Also present at that tournament over the same dates was Thomas Ahlberg in his role as IFAF Europe Technical committee member, so he didn’t vote either, that is their second lie! I also know that Jedrzej Steszewski (IFAF Europe Board member) was not present in Paris and also didn’t vote, their third lie. Nikolaus Jelinek (IFAF Europe Competition Committee Chairman) was also present at the Worcester Tournament and can verify the attendance, in Worcester, of both myself and Thomas Ahlberg.
How can there have been a “unanimous vote” when 5 members (the others being Goran Nisavic and Gregor Murth) of the IFAF Europe Board were not present and certainly didn’t vote ? Four board members voted in an unauthorised and illegal vote and I would ask you to question their motives behind such a move.


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