2018 saw the revival of the GB Lions U19s programme, culminating in a valiant visit to Holland in November where the young British ballers came up just short against an experienced Dutch Junior Lions outfit.
Building upon this, the International Federation of American Football have announced that in 2019 the Lions will square off against Norway for a place in the 2019 IFAF European Championships, set to take place in Italy later this year – July 24 to August 3, 2019.
— Int’l Federation of American Football (@IFAFMedia) January 5, 2019
As AmericanFootballInternational.com notes the host team, Italy, and the top three ranked teams based on the results of the previous European U19 Championships (Sweden, Denmark and Austria) automatically qualified for the tournament, the remaining eight teams will play in a qualifying round.
European U19 Championship ranking:
- Great Britain
Notably, despite their loss to the Dutch Lions, GB actually seed slightly above them in the 7th seed berth.
The matchups as shared by IFAF are:
France will face Slovakia, Finland takes on Russia, Great Britain and Norway will play each other and the Netherlands plays Spain.
According to AFI, the dates for these single-round elimination games will be determined by the teams.
The biggest change in this process is that the home team gets to propose the dates for the game (at least two) and the away team chooses which of the dates is used.
During qualification, the home teams have to compensate the visiting team for a part of their travel costs. The visiting team can choose between free accommodation for its team or a mileage allowance for the travel distance.
For the newly revived GB Lions U19s programme, it looks like an exciting year ahead for these talented young ballers!
One notable absence from the tournament will be an outfit that otherwise might be considered favourites – Germany. The largest league in European football, Germany appeared to pick the wrong side in the recent IFAF ‘civil war’ and are reportedly yet to ‘return to the fold’.
IFAF President Richard MacLean, told AFI:
“I believe the tournament will be a showcase of up and coming European talent. And that Italy will be a fantastic host. Unfortunately, Germany remains not in good standing and that is keeping their athletes from participating. I hope this issue is resolved before the next tournament deadline so German athletes can participate.”