IFAF Europe: Former Vice Chairman On IFAF Paris Congress & New IFAF Europe

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