By RENALDO DORSETT
A MEETING between government entities and several factions representing American football in the country has resulted in the cancellation of the proposed International Federation of American Football (IFAF) World Championships.
Executives from the local governing body for American Football, the Commonwealth American Football League, and various representatives from local flag football leagues, sought to shed light on what they interpreted as mismanagement of the event by the Bahamas American Football Federation and its Local Organising Comitteee for the World Championships.
A new timetable for the event has been set targeting January as the early proposed date and a new LOC comprising CAFL and local flag football league members from the Bahamas Flag Football League (BFFL), the Grand Bahama Flag Football League (GBFFL) and the Abaco Flag Football League (AFFL).
CAFL executive Michael Foster said the right decision was made to not host the event at this time with the event shrouded in controversy and not properly sanctioned.
“I hope now after this long battle that persons realise and appreciate what we were trying to accomplish. We expect in short order to be granted the status of recognition by the true legitimate IFAF. On the world stage we cannot imagine that we just played a part in crushing a hostile takeover of a rogue IFAF over the legitimate body despite whatever misfortune the legitimate President Wiking has.
“We will now at any level in football have the hand to sanction whatever the various leagues endeavour to do,” Foster said. “We appreciated the contributions of BFFL executive Bianca Lee and journalist Fred Sturrup, who at one point was actually contracted by the LOC for this event. Ms Lee was on point with the issues that would have concerned the flag leagues. The rogue BAFF, run by a foreigner, exhorted 12 years of frustration and showed great respect to foreign entities and no respect to the sovereignty of this country and its people first.”
Members of the BAFF and the LOC were not immediately available for comment.
The news comes off the heels of a joint statement released by the BFFL, GBFFL and AFFL as the groups announced their intention to boycott in September.
The league insists they were purposefully omitted from the organisation of the event, “setting the stage for a national embarrassment” if the event was hosted as intended this September in Grand Bahama.
“This is setting the stage for a national embarrassment as without the league’s involvement, the national team will not be made up of the best the country can offer, and the end result will be a disgrace to The Bahamas in which we could and should have been the stars and earn well-deserved acclaim. We will stand together with all our brothers and sisters in the sport and across the Bahamas in a boycott of such a mess. We deserve better and have for a long time been demanding better, but the government has been deaf to our cries,” the statement said.
Antonio Maycock, president of the CAFL previously described the BAFF as a “rogue group” and said his group would not sanction an event hosted by the BAFF.
The rift at the local level follows what has happened with IFAF internationally.
IFAF has had leadership struggles of its own with one administration, led by IFAF President Tommy Wiking who had been on a leave of absence which concluded in May and another led by the former IFAF vice president and current Finnish federation president Roope Noronen.
The group cancelled its 2016 World Championships in Stockholm, Sweden in December 2015 and reached an impasse at the rescheduled event in Canton, Ohio in July 2016.
Noronen and his faction denied Wiking a position on the IFAF Executive Board while Wiking and his faction conducted their own alternate congress. The groups have operated independently ever since.
The CAFL suggests the BAFF was a part of the faction led by Noronen.
The group led by Noronen will host the IFAF U19 World Championship this summer in Austin, Texas, while the opposing group last hosted a Central American Four Nations tournament in Guatemala.
The International Olympic Committee has stepped in to solve the dispute, chiding the organisation to solve its leadership structure.