A new European club championship has been announced for the 2017 American Football season by IFAF (New York). The inaugural Northern European Football League (NEFL) will be played between five European teams from four nations, including our own Britbowl champions, the London Warriors. This championship will kick off in April and conclude in May, ensuring it shouldn’t cause too much disruption in the competing teams’ domestic campaigns.
The teams will be representing Denmark, Finland, Great Britain, and Sweden.
The Danes will be represented by the Copenhagen Towers, six time Danish national champions who missed out on their seventh title last November when the lead was wrestled from them in the final 38 seconds of the game by the Triangle Razorbacks.
Finland will be sending the Helsinki Roosters, a team with a rich history. Founded in 1979 and winning their first national championship in 1982, the Roosters capped off an impressive 2016 campaign with a 10-0 victory over the Seinäjoki Crocodiles winning Maple Bowl XXXVII.
As previously mentioned the London Warriors will be competing as the British representative club; having easily dispatched the London Blitz 36-15 to win their fourth Britbowl title, the London Warriors will be competing in their first European fixture since 2015.
Sweden will be sending two teams to compete in the NEFL, the Carlstad Crusaders and the Uppsala 86ers. Carlstad are the reigning Swedish champions, a feat they achieved for the seventh consecutive time when they bested the Uppsala 86ers 34-22, completing a perfect season.
Teams will be split into regional conferences: the NEFL West (Carlstad Crusaders, London Warriors, and Copenhagen Towers) and the NEFL East (Helsinki Roosters and Uppsala 86ers). Each team will play one home game and one away game against teams within their conference, and the winners of each conference will progress to the championship game hosted by the NEFL West team. The proposed fixtures are as follows:
- 01 Apr 2017 Carlstad Crusaders @ Copenhagen Towers (NEFL West)
- 01 Apr 2017 Uppsala 86ers @ Helsinki Roosters (NEFL East)
- 22 Apr 2017 Copenhagen Towers @ London Warriors (NEFL West)
- 23 Apr 2017 Helsinki Roosters @ Uppsala 86ers (NEFL East)
- 06 May 2017 London Warriors @ Carlstad Crusaders (NEFL West)
- 20-21 May 2017 NEFL East winner @ NEFL West winner (Championship game)
The Carlstad Crusaders had previously been invited to take part in the GFL-organised Big6 tournament, but had declined, due in part to the Big6 tournament being aligned with IFAF (Paris).
If there’s a silver lining to the turmoil between the feuding IFAFs, it’s that we at least get new competitions like this are emerging within European American Football.