Earlier today AmericanFootballInternational.com reported that the GFL has refused to adjust their schedule to accommodate for the incoming 2018 European Championships, taking place in Vantaa, Finland, this summer. This could potentially lead to a number of key GB Lions players, who ply their trade in the GFL through the summer months, unable to represent their country at the tournament if their clubs refuse to release them to attend.
While the GB Lions are yet to release a roster for the summer’s European Championship campaign, looking at the most recent iteration of Lions that faced Sweden in 2017, it’s likely the roster may miss out on a handful of players on both sides of the ball.
Lineman Jozef Tobolkiewicz was called up to the GB squad to face Sweden in October, but has signed with the Hamburg Huskies this year and therefore could miss out on a second showing for the Lions. Meanwhile, staples of the GB Wideout core may also be forced to miss out – Tim Thomas signed with the Frankfurt Universe ahead of this GFL season, and fellow wideout David Saul plays and coaches with the Potsdam Royals.
Defensively, Lineman Niall Scott-Grant played for the Dresden Monarchs last season, and looks to have joined Defensive Back John Kenyon at the Potsdam Royals ahead of this summer, along with fellow Brit Matt Eva, who wasn’t included in the most recent GB squad.
This could leave the Lions without a number of very recognisable faces this summer, although it’s notable GB’s rivals – Sweden, Denmark, Finland, France and Austria – would also potentially miss out on key players if they’re forced to choose club over country.
According to AFI, 15 of the 16 GFL Programmes voted to not change the current schedule, which as it happened only slightly clashed with the Championships – the final day of the Euros coinciding with Week 13 of the GFL. However, notably, these fixtures follow a near month-long break in the GFL schedule.
It’s likely this decision was in part due to Germany’s non-participation in the European Championship this summer.
Despite Team Germany being defending European champions, according to IFAF the American Football Federation of Germany (AFVD) did not apply for reinstatement to the tournament following the recent resolution of the IFAF conflict – the international governing body of American Football ‘reunited’ earlier this year following the decision of the European Court of Arbitration at the start of March.