For years now the international scene in American Football has been plagued by an ongoing dispute at the very top of the game. IFAF, the International Federation of American Football and the international governing body for the sport worldwide has been effectively engaged in a quasi-civil war as two separate bodies both claimed to have oversight of the sport’s international development and coordination.
After years of bickering stymieing any kind of development of the sport’s international scene, it appears there’s finally been some movement towards determining which of IFAF (Paris) and IFAF (New York) might actually be responsible for clearing up the political mess that international football has become – as John McKeon over at AmericanFootballInternational.com explains:
American Football International has obtained a copy of a partial decision by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) and its ruling contradicts the main assertion of IFAF Paris that their elected president, Tommy Wiking never resigned in 2015. IFAF Paris is one of two factions claiming to be the governing body for international American football, the International Federation of American Football (IFAF). The other is IFAF New York headed by Richard MacLean.
The decision from the Tribunal, which had heard arguments from both sides earlier in September, was released on September 22nd and declares four points:
- Tommy Wiking did resign as President of IFAF on 3 February 2015 with effect on 30 April 2015, which was accepted by IFAF;
- Any and all actions by Tommy Wiking, either as IFAF President, or more generally on behalf of IFAF after 30 April 2015 are null and void;
- Tommy Wiking shall cease and desist from acting as and referring to himself as the President of IFAF;
- All other decisions, including any decision as to costs, are reserved.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), or Tribunal arbitral du sport (TAS), is an international quasi-judicial body established to settle disputes related to sport through arbitration. Generally speaking, CAS is most known for arbitrating disputes in sport with connections to Olympic Games and anti-doping. It is important to note that CAS was originally formed by theInternational Olympic Committee.
Here, the Court’s decision is clear and decisive. They state that Tommy Wiking did resign as President of IFAF as of April 30, 2015 and ‘any and all actions’ taken by Wiking as President or on behalf of IFAF are ‘null and void.’
Wiking has been acting as President of a group of nations known as IFAF Paris, a faction who’ve assumed control of much of the infrastructure of American football’s international governing body. This faction has kicked out members like USA Football, held its own IFAF Congresses‘, established a new IFAF Europe ‘Continental Association’, and passed significant statutes changes.
It would seem that a great many of the decisions made by IFAF Paris, which were signed off by Mr. Wiking, are now invalid.
However, this CAS ruling does not decide on who is the true IFAF President.
In it unclear how affects of this CAS ruling will play out across the world of American football. Will nations and their leaders fall in line with the CAS decision or will they ignore it and act on their own accord?
Evidence thus far suggests the latter, as this past weekend one of the Wiking’s IFAF Paris executives, Robert Huber, president of the German American Football Federation (AFVD – American Football Verband Deutschland), chaired an IFAF Congress in Paris. Although the event was not publicized on the IFAF Paris website, ifaf.info, IFAF Paris General Secretary Zorica Hofman confirmed this in an email:
“The IFAF Congress was held as planned with 26 countries attending. Mr Huber chaired the meeting. Minutes and other documents will be released in due manner.”