With the American Football internationally still in a state of disarray thanks to the ongoing issues with the sport’s international governing body, IFAF, there was some great news this week as it was confirmed that the 2017 National Champs, the Tamworth Phoenix, would be competing in the 2018 Northern European Football league.
The London Warriors participated as Britains representative to the NEFL last season, with fair success for their first European foray – coming from behind to take a win over the Copenhagen Towers in their opener, before falling short against a Carlstadt Crusaders side relying heavily upon recent marquee addition, Alpha Jalloh.
Following announcing their intention to see European action earlier this year, and following an offseason of change for the first-time National Champs, hopes are that the Phoenix with find success in their first European adventure, especially with the NEFL title now up for grabs – the 2017 champs, the Helsinki Roosters, not able to participate in this season’s competition.
The reigning champions from Great Britain, Denmark, Sweden and Norway join NEFLin 2018.
The Northern European Football League – NEFL – will feature the champions of four different countries plus a national runner up when the league kicks off its schedule later in the spring.
The Carlstad Crusaders from Sweden, who reached the final in 2017 will face Norway’s2017 champions the Oslo Vikings and possibly also Polish finalists the Gdynia Seahawks in one group. Meanwhile, Great Britain’s Tamworth Phoenix, who won the British title in 2017, will play the Copenhagen Towers from Denmark in the other group.
Helsinki Roosters dropped out
Originally, the defending NEFL champion Helsinki Roosters from Finland, had been scheduled to play but pulled out suddenly, apparently due to a scheduling conflict. NEFLofficials are still searching to find a suitable replacement.
Which has posed a dilemma.
IFAF still an issue
The IFAF situation continues to cause problems for teams and organizers looking to arrange international competitions. With the absence of a final ruling by CAS, the Court of Arbitration for Sport in the case of which IFAF (New York or Paris) is the official governing body for international American football, organizers and teams face a dilemma. Since it seems that no one can state, unequivocally, who is in good standing, teams fear harsh reprisals from IFAF should they play in an “unsanctioned” event.
So finding a sixth team for the NEFL is proving to be more difficult than it should be.
Nevertheless, the lineup of teams is still impressive.
Carlstad, winners of eight straight Swedish titles, is no stranger to international play. They reached the NEFL final in 2017, losing in an overtime thriller to the Helsinki Roosters from Finland 21-15. The Oslo Vikings on the other hand, have not played in an international tournament for many years. The Vikings dominated the Norwegianleague in 2017 winning the title game over the Eidsvoll 1814s, 51-7.
The third team in the NEFL East is possibly Poland’s Gdynia Seahawks, winners of two Polish titles 92014, 2015) and runners up in 2016 and 2017. The Seahawks are in negotiations and would be making their first foray into international competition.
England’s Tamworth Phoenix, upset winners of the British title, are also new to international play. The Copenhagen Towers are not new though. Copenhagen also played in the NEFL in 2017 losing to Carlstad and the London Warriors.
The league structure so far has five teams split into two groups.
The winner of each group will play for the NEFL Championship on a weekend which has yet to be decided.
Pending the addition of a sixth team, the groupings would be as follows:
Tamworth Phoenix (Great Britain)
Copenhagen Towers (Denmark)
Carlstad Crusaders (Sweden)
Oslo Vikings (Norway)
Gdynia Seahawks (Poland)
Learn more about the NEFL and American Football across the globe at AmericanFootballInternational.com