IFAF Europe Elections – Statement by AFBÖ VP Gregor Murth
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.
Former Vice President IFAF Europe
Gary Marshall, ebenfalls im IFAF Europe Vorstand, zweifelt die Rechtmäßigkeit der Wahl an.
Paris meeting and subsequent communications.
Dear European Federation members,
My name is Gary Marshall and I am an IFAF Europe Board member, elected by the IFAF Congress in Kuwait.
I write to you as you will all have no doubt received a communication containing information regarding a recent meeting held in Paris on Saturday 17th September 2016.
This group, who sent the email, claim to represent both IFAF and a new IFAF Europe and have sent out information regarding decisions taken at that meeting.
I can inform you that the vast majority of information contained in that letter are outright lies. It mentions a "unanimous vote" see below
Therefore the remaining seven members of the IFAF European Continental Committee which are Mr. Enrique Garcia de Castro, Mr. Sahin Komercu, Mr. Lesley Moreels, Mr. Romeo Tjoe-A-On, Mr. Thomas Ahlberg, Mr. Jedrzej Steszewski and Mr. Gary Marshall decided by unanimous decision to appoint Mr. Enrique Garcia De Castro as interim Chairman and Mr. Sahin Komercu as interim Vice-Chairman of the IFAF European Continental Committee both continuing as ordinary members of the committee itself. The task of the Treasurer/ Financial Director will remain vacant for the near future.
It says that I voted, at that meeting in Paris, in favour of establishing an interim Board for IFAF.
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.
The letter also tries to give the impression that this vote took place at the Paris meeting on Saturday 17th – please check the email trail below where the email from Enrique Garcia asking for a vote to take place is dated 18th September, the day after the Paris meeting, this trail also contains my strong objections to both the validity and legality of such a vote!
I have sent another email upon receiving their letter this morning insisting that my name is removed from any correspondence implying my support or vote in favour in any shape or form for this organisation or I will consider taking legal action against those who are using my name in this false and misleading manner.
They do not represent the majority view in Europe and are actively taking football backwards. There are other aspects of their letter which are also less than honest and a smokescreen to cover their true intent.
I would ask you all to carefully consider your position before agreeing to support an organisation who have based their first communication on an illegal position supported by a letter containing outright lies and misinformation.
If there is any further information that you feel I can supply you with please get back to me on this email address.
Gary Marshall: IFAF Europe Board member
Pressemeldung der IFAF Mitglieder, die ihren Kongress in New York abhielten
Media Release 21 September 2016
The International Federation of American Football (IFAF) held its Annual Congress in New York, United States, on September 17 – just one week after the World Flag Football Championships were staged in Miami. The IFAF invited representatives from all its Member countries to attend to discuss and help plan the future of football – This year, representatives from nations spanning the continents of Africa, Americas, Asia, Europe and Oceania, attended.
IFAF President, Roope NORONEN welcomed Congress and spoke of the highlights, achievements and challenges faced during the past year.
The highlights included the staging of the u19 World Championship in China and the Flag Football Championships in the United States and Mexico’s contribution to the FISU World Championship.
He praised the innovative grassroots schemes taking place around the world and the continued hard work of volunteers the world over.
Noronen addressed the challenges which have affected the sport since 2015 and reinforced the desire to see these resolved at the Court of Arbitration in Sport (CAS).
Noronen also confirmed that he would not stand for re-election to the Executive Board due to commitments to the Finnish Federation. He praised the work of the Executive Board and others during his time in office.
Guest speaker was Mark WALLER Executive Vice President: NFL International, who addressed the IFAF Congress on the work of the NFL in broadening access to the game and the importance of ensuring that a unified federation developed the sport worldwide.
Presentations were also made by a delegation from Panama on the hosting of international events.
Key points from Congress: Nations committed to supporting the resolution of international governance issues at CAS. An independent organisation will lead a review of the IFAF Statutes, policies and procedures.
Delegates and attendees hailed from: American Samoa; Argentina; Australia; Canada; Chile; China; Denmark; Finland; Great Britain; Israel; Italy; Japan; Kenya; Korea; Mexico; New Zealand; Norway; Panama, Swende and the United States.
Mr. Richard MACLEAN (Canada) was elected to serve as President.
Mr. Makato KANEUJI (Japan) was re-elected to serve as Senior Vice President. Mr. Scott HALLENBECK (United States) was elected to serve as Vice President. Ms. Marie SOLHAUG (Norway) was elected to serve as Treasurer.
Mr. Chris JOSEY (Australia) was elected to serve as Secretary. All terms of office are four years.
Diverse Pressemeldungen der IFAF Mitglieder, die ihren Kongress in Paris abhielten
News Release on the Founding of IFAF Europe Continental Federation
Following a motion of the Austrian national federation AFBÖ the International Federation of American Football (IFAF) on September 17 in Paris along with the new IFAF Statutes adopted a regulation, which allows member federations of each continent to decide on the structure of the organization of their cooperation on that continent. The national federations of a continent may choose either to form a continental committee within IFAF or to run an own legal entity, legally distinct of the IFAF as a whole. Any such entity holds the same rights and obligations as an IFAF Continental Committee, but is enabled to autonomously respond to contracts and has financial autonomy.
The former structure launched within IFAF several years ago had introduced continental committees run solely by IFAF and excluded any other form of continental cooperation. This had severe effects in Europe. Elsewhere in the world where international competitions are held sporadically for national teams, but not on a regular base for club teams, the change in the organizational framework more or less left things unchanged. Even with the transformation of the IFAF structures all continents except for Europe still lack international club team competitions as they did a few years ago.
For Europe, however, where this year marked the 30th anniversary of the oldest international club competition for the Eurobowl and where most of the IFAF member federations with the most broadly based national programmes are located, it was an obvious choice that the European member federations would not hesitate to pool their common interests in an own legal entity. After the new statutes were adopted at the IFAF Congress in Paris, the European federations almost inevitably selected this path to further streamline their efforts for the European international competitions or the numerous educational programmes for countries where American football just is in its early developmental stages. The foundation of "IFAF Continental European Association / IFAF Europe" was unanimously performed by 23 European national federations. It clears the way for the European American football federations to control their own fate in the future.
As President of „IFAF Continental European Association / IFAF Europe“ Enrique Garcia de Castro (Spain) was elected unanimously. Michael Smith (Ireland) and Sahin Komercu (Turkey) will take the duties of Vice President, Uwe Talke (Germany) perform as the General Secretary and for the office of the Treasurer the convention voted unanimously for Dr. Gregor Murth (Austria). Other functions will be performed by Romeo Tjoe-A-On (The Netherlands) as Director of Sports and by Thomas Ahlberg (Sweden), Manfredi Leone (Italy) and Jedrzej Steszewski (Poland) within the managing committee.
IFAF Congress Reelect the Incumbent President Mr Tommy Wiking for another 4 year term!
The IFAF Congress at Paris on September 17th has unanimously reelected President Mr Tommy Wiking (Sweden) for the next four-year-term. Robert Huber (Germany) was elected as Senior Vice- President, Sahin Komurcu (Turkey) and Prof. Leoluca Orlando (Italy) as Vice Presidents. Marco Antonio Cobar (Guatemala) was elected as Treasurer, Janice Ward (Ireland) as Secretary. Furthermore Michel Daum (France) as a Legal Officer, John Mahnen (USA), Anon Raras Mitayani- Hahn (Indonesia) and Namdev Shirgaonkar (India) were elected into the new presidium.
The IFAF Congress consisting of delegates representing 54 countries also unanimously approved new statutes and a new structure for IFAF.
The continued worldwide growth of American football accounted for the induction of four new member federations this time, Albania, Bahamas, Portugal and Uganda, and the constructive and substantive discussions underline that after a difficult period a spirit of optimism can be felt again within IFAF.
Zorica Hofman IFAF
Six National Federations suspended for breaking anti-doping rules.
The Disciplinary Committee of the International Federation of American Football, IFAF, on Friday the 16th 2016 made the decision to suspend the membership of six national federations for non- compliance with the IFAF Anti-Doping Rules.
- USA Football (USA),
- Canada-Football (Canada),
- Federación Mexicana de Fútbol Americano (Mexico),
- Japan American Football Association (Japan),
- Suomen Amerikkalaisen Jalkapallon Liitto (Finland), and
- Dansk Amerikansk Fodbold Forbund (Denmark).
The suspension is handed out since these federations have refused to cooperate with IFAF in regard to anti-doping issues (art 5.6.6. of the IFAF ADR). The federations refused to submit information of athletes selected to the IFAF Registered Testing Pool. All six federations have been informed of the Disciplinary Committee’s judgment.
IFAF are in the final stages of implementing the new WADA code and the requirements that WADA have set out during 2016. The non-compliance from this six member federations undermines the work of IFAF against doping and to protect the clean athlete.
“IFAF, as a WADA signatory and IOC recognized International Federation, is committed to protecting the clean athletes. I sincerely hope that these national federations realize the grave position they have put themselves in and that they comply with the WADA and IFAF Anti-doping program as soon as possible.” stated IFAF President Mr Tommy Wiking.
Mr Wiking expressed his gratitude to the IFAF Disciplinary Committee for their dedication to carry out their work in a fair and objective way. The decision can be appealed to the IFAF Appeal Committee.
Paris, September 17th 2016.
Secretary General IFAF