Did Czech Association Get Robbed Of Hosting Rights For Flag EU Championship?

Statement on FF CC 2017

Czech Association of American Football (ČAAF) has decided not to host the Flag Football European Championship this year. The tournament´s financing was assured and unique venue (Vítkovice Arena in Ostrava) was ready to host the games. However, due to „political“ uncertainities in Europe, we decided not to host the tournament, because we don´t want to be part of political games.

We were aiming to host great tournament and our first and only focus was football. We hope, that as soon as the European situation is clear, the European Championship will „return“ back to Czechia.

ČAAF, or Czech football in general, paid the price for endless fights between two groups claiming that they are reigning bodies in football, so called groups IFAF New York and IFAF Paris.

Czechia got the European Championship late in 2014 after a selection procedure of IFAF Europe, which was sub-federation of world federation at that time. Everybody knew the result, there was no doubt about the hosting country.

During years of 2015 and 2016, political situation escalated and IFAF was splitted. However, it was no typical split into two organisations, the situation is bizarre in long term as two groups are claiming, that they are the proper and only leaders and what more, both groups behave in manners, that there is no problem at all. So there are duplicated meetings, competitions etc. Only bank account remained one and has been frozen for many months…

All troubles occurred, when IFAF´s president of that time, Wiking, was in prison and his Sweden gave up hosting of world tackle championship. Wiking became persona non grata in almost all developed (football-related) countries with two exceptions – Germany and France. And this German-French duo welcomed Wiking despite the previous rivalry. Actually, rivalry remained, only one of captains switched between boats…

The split was created by Wiking´s decision to step down in a few weeks period, but he changed his mind just one day before that period expired and this seems to be the key part. One group insists, that he stepped down, period. Another group thinks otherwise.

Group IFAF New York (called according of world meeting in 2016) is now supported by all big countries (USA, Canada, Mexico, Japan, Australia) and by Scandic countries and Great Britain in Europe. IFAF Europe sub-federation should act on European soil for this group, but elected leaders of IFAF Europe don´t want to make decisions, as they fear potential legal action made by other group and it´s not worth for them.

The other group, IFAF Paris, is mostly based on support of Germany, France and Spain and not really developed countries as Ireland or even fictional (football-related!) countries as Greece, Kosovo or Myanmar. Number of countries in both groups are more or less leveled, but only in case (for example) Greece should be counted in, despite the fact, they do not run football. This group founded brand new European federation and, to create even more mess, they named it IFAF Europe. Chairman is Spaniard Castro, honorary chairman is German Huber.

ČAAF tried to contact „Paris“ late in 2016, because we wanted to know, who to get in touch with and who will be the contact for EC. Paris´ reaction was quite shocking – ČAAF has been supposed to abandon the tournament already… And in very next email, Paris added, that „old“ IFAF Europe hasn´t given any information about hosting of the tournament and therefore Paris doesn´t know, who is actually the hosting country. Note, that Paris suddenly doesn´t know, who previously won the election procedure, but on the other hand, they knew, that Czechia gave it up…

Meanwhile, information about decision to give the tournament to Spain (yes, Paris´ chairman is a Spaniard), was mentioned on a private facebook group for flag football coaches. After a month of ignoring of us, without being informed as „former host country“ or possible participant, same information was posted on facebook profile of Spanish federation. Still no official information. Straight and simple, Paris lied to us and they stole the championship from us.

Despite the fact, that we weren´t able to believe, that such something could be true, we tried also to contact New York. Why? We can´t host a tournament on our own and call it European Championship. New York would agree and would support the tournament, but it looked like, that tournament would be used as power forcing countries to choose and make statement, which group they prefer and support and participants would have to express the loyalty to New York.

This was an obstacle for ČAAF as we don´t agree with such condition and it would obviously affect also other countries and while the tournament was prepared also from economic point of view, it was calculated for more than four or five countries, what could be the worst scenario. Not to mention, that tournament with four nations is probably not real EC.

So, under pressure of such condition, under possible threat of legal actions from Paris group and under uncertainty of number or participants, ČAAF decided to forego the tournament and we will hope, that once Europe becomes finally united, we will get the tournament again.