Monday, July 16, 2007

Reforms for World Cup '11

It's feeling like a two-post day, so why fight it?

Let me start off by saying I believe World Cup '07 was a smashing success, for what it was supposed to be. That said, I believe there were several major errors made, and I hope they will be addressed before 2011.

Today, I'll address what I believe to be the worst of these mistakes: only one representative was selected from North America. This is preposterous. The closest analogy I can think of is to give Europe the same number of qualifiers as say North America in the World Cup (soccer). Ludicrous. Asinine. There is absolutely no doubt that the second-strongest football country in the world is Canada. However, the Canadians didn't even have a chance to qualify, because IFAF decided on one North America representative, and chose the United States as "an invitee." And that's not to mention Mexico, silver medalists of the previous two World Cups. I know that the purpose of these competitions is to increase world interest in football, but excluding the countries with well-established football bases is a colossal mistake. The more legitimate the competition, the more marketable the event. Part of the reason this World Cup received no media attention in the United States must be that no American would/could believe this to be a legitimate world championship. And who could argue with them when America's stiffest competition -- Japan -- would be absolutely massacred by the Rutgers football team?

The World Cup pool is kept smaller due to expenses, but countries like Canada and Mexico can easily drum up funds to travel to a World Cup. If the IFAF World Cup is ever to be taken seriously, then the best football countries must be represented in the tournament.

58 comments:

Aaron said...

One thing about American Football in general is it is not usually played in short tourneys like this one. The US team played 3 games in 5 days which is unheard of in the US. The event is going to have to be stretched out for a longer time frame in the future.

A suggesting for the site would be to create a ratings sytem and publish a top 10 or top 20, something similar to the Elo ratings for soccer.

I would actually rate American Samoa potentially higher as many Samoans play in the NFL and in college football.

My ratings would be as follows:
1. USA
2. American Samoa
3. Canada
4. Japan
5. Mexico
6. Germany
7. Sweden
8. Korea
9. France
10. Italy

I doubt we will see a 'dream team' situation for this competition for genrations but something along the lines of decent Division 1 college players being used should be a goal for the future.

Gerry said...

Great idea, Aaron.

That's something I will look into in the near future. I need to continue to assess some of the international tournaments and play to figure out a legitimate way to do a rating system.

The alternative would be a subjective poll, but again, I'll need to do more research.

Anonymous said...

There is a lot of importance to your comment related to only one representative being present from North America. In the past the representative was Mexico as there were no other national participants.

In Europe each national team has to qualify for admission to the World Cup by participating in tournaments. The U.S. Team did not have to go through this process and Mexico and Canada sufferred for this. The U.S. team was simply appointed to the slot. In fact, there is considerable question about what the U.S. team did in order to qualify for admission as a member to the IFAF organiation. I invite anyone to visit the IFAF site and look at the bylaws to determine whether the US Team could have possibly qualified.

Gerry said...

Where do you suspect the United States' qualifications are/were deficient?

Anonymous said...

Article 4 : Membership


G. Member federations must at all times meet the following requirements (a federation applying to become a member must also meet the requirements):

1. have at least one regular season championship in its country (FAILED)

2. represent the entire country and control the American football in its country (FAILED)

3. be a member of the corresponding Continental Federation (PASSED)

4. be recognized by national sports or government authority or national Olympic committee, unless national laws so inhibits (FAILED)

5. to pay its membership fee by January 31st every year (ASSUMED PASSED)

6. to abide statutes, regulations and decisions by IFAF (ASSUMED PASSED)

7. to send their in force statutes and regulations to the IFAF (ASSUMEDPASSED)

8. to have at least 10 clubs in their federation (FAILED)

9. to participate in IFAF competitions (FAILED)

10. to ensure that their internal constitution stipulates that their federation is organized and conducted democratically and without any racial, religious, political or gender discrimination. (PASSED)

Gerry said...

These depend on how you interpret the loose writing of the bylaws. The United States has plenty of competition and teams within USA football's federation. Go to USA Football's website and browse for yourself.

USA football is recognized by the United States, so I have no idea why you think it fails on that requirement.

USA football just participated in an IFAF event from what I understand ... I think they won it, too. If your argument is that they'd have to participate in the event first, then no one would be a member, because you have to be a member in order to participate in an IFAF event.

From what I can gather, USA Football did what it needed to do to be a full member.

Anonymous said...

It does not appear that the by laws of IFAF were written "loosely". They appear to be very strictly written. USA Football was organized to promote football at the youth level. It never contemplated this level. Below is an overview directly from www.usafootball.com

USA Football appears not to have done anything it needed to do to become an IFAF member aside from paying its fees. It did not have to compete in qualifying IFAF tournaments as the rest of the World did. If it did, you would have seen a USA vs. Mexico or other qualifier from that hemisphere just as Korea had to do when the qualifed against Austrialia, or France did against Finland this past January.

No, USA Football did not qualify in a just and fair manner.


Overview

USA Football is an independent non-profit organization whose purpose is to support and expand football at all amateur levels. The first national advocacy group created for this purpose, USA Football was launched in December 2002 and received initial funding from the National Football League and the NFL Players Association, through the NFL Youth Football Fund.

USA Football does not operate any leagues or teams. Our mission as a national advocacy organization is to support and enhance the development and operation of leagues, teams, coaches, parents and players across the United States with resources and best practices such as coaching and health & safety information.

Anonymous said...

Gerry - further, no one has ever addressed the issue of those failures by USA Football to meet membership requirements. See the previous blog entry with the capitalized (FAILED).

This is not subjective by any means and the nature of whether a condition was met or not is really not in question.

They simply did not meet those requirments and were crowned the North American representative despite their failure to do so.

If I was from the Mexico team, or Canada, I would be very upset to have had our opportunity stolen. The seem, however silent in the matter.

Gerry said...

Those bylaws do not say that the organization need be the direct overseer of competitions within its country. From my reading of those laws, USA Football's affiliation as a supporting body to competition within the United States is sufficient for qualification. USA Football is affiliated with the NFL and NCAA, which have far more than ten teams and host annual championship events. As the entire USA roster was made up of NCAA players handpicked by coaches across the United States, it is unreasonable to argue that USA football failed to meet requirements 1, 2, and 8.

The part in Requirement 2 stating the federation is responsible for "controlling the American football in its country" is loosely written, as I suggested. As USA football controlled the roster and operation of the national football team, this may satisfy this requirement. However, one could also read that USA football must control the NFL to qualify. It's vaguely written.

It does not appear the IFAF organizers required the USA to compete in a qualifying tournament, and the rules and regulations you listed above mention no such requirement. They merely say the member must compete in IFAF competitions, which the US does.

I raised this issue in the original post that North America should have been given fairer representation, but there is nothing that suggests USA football is to blame for this.

The silence on the part of Canada and Mexico that you have pointed out further suggest that the IFAF's decision to invite the United States outright was not wholly offensive to the other North American members. Why that is, I don't know.

You have yet to give any evidence though that shows the USA did not qualify as a full member within the IFAF.

Anonymous said...

I hope this takes on the spirit of "point versus counterpoint" more so than a personal argument. I will go forward with that understanding.

Japan, from what I understand, made it very clear that it would host the games and invest a considerable amount of capital to the event with the provision there would be a representative from the USA. I must insinuate that there must have been considerable pressure on IFAF to boost the USA team.

There is no governing body of amuateur football in the USA except,perhaps, the NCAA. The NFL is, of course, not amateur.

In 2003 several organizations attempted to be recognized as the USA representative and were denied membership because it was pointed out by IFAF there is no governing body and the NFL did not qualify.

USA Football was clearly funded by NFL and NFLPA. The purpose of this funding, to the tune of $5 million US Dollars, was to promote youth football up to the high school level.

Never, was it interested in football at the senior level and its organization documents never considered the possibility.

IFAF appointed USA Football as the national representative. It clearly does not operate leagues or teams or any federation at all. One of the most prevalent requirements of membership is that it must crown a national champion from a team of not fewer than 10 teams. Although the NCAA has such a champion of far more than 10 teams, USA Football is not affiliated in any manner to NCAA and does not govern the NFL. It does not govern competition at any level in the USA.

I do not disagree with you personally, only the notion that the IFAF rules are loosely written. If you know anythng of Europeans, you will note that they take Federation By Laws and rules very seriously and those rules are written purposely, thoughtfully and they do not generall take kindly to those who may attempt to circumvent those rules.

No, USA Football did not play fairly. With considerable deference to those fine athletes and coaches who were in Japan,their victory is not tarnished by USA Football's appointment. It is IFAF's shame, not USA Footballs. You cannot blame them for taking advantage of the pressure placed upon IFAF to put an American entry into the games.

Cheers

Gerry said...

I'm glad you don't take this little exchange as personal, because of course it is not.

I don't dispute much of what you said in your last post. USA Football never existed to promote a senior football team.

However, the team that was sent to Japan was one made up entirely of NCAA players, and the selection of those players was through a process of close cooperation between USA Football and the NCAA. In that regard, I see the national team as a representation of NCAA football, which governs the highest level of amateur American football within the United States.

My point is to some degree semantics, because the NCAA is not a member of IFAF - USA Football is.

Regardless, there are many things IFAF must correct for the next World Cup. North America's representation needs to be given far more weight. USA football needs to shore up its questionable membership that you have outlined, or IFAF needs to amend its bylaws.

I do think the current requirements may be too heavy, and this will hurt more global membership. I'd rather see more countries able to qualify under less strict guidelines than have domestic leagues forced upon nations only to see them fail.

Aaron said...

So 'Anonymous' you are putting forth a conspiracy theory that the US team should not be crowned champions because the IFAF broke its own rules to let them enter the tournament?

I think the mere inclusion of the team means that the IFAF considered USA Football to be a legitimate IFAF Federation.

They should have played Mexico and Canada in a qualifier pool before the tournament, for whatever reason that wasn't done, but to say that they weren't a legitimate entry is a conspiracy theory that doesn't seem to hold much merit.

Anonymous said...

I suppose that is the most serious issue for IFAF. You see, IFAF does not really have to shore up its By Laws for member European teams. Those rules were applied fairly and equally to each of them. The rules were only bent for the benefit of USA Football. They are not, currently nor in the past, too heavy for anyone. As I wrote, they were carfully crafted in word and in spirit to derive the desired goal.

Discuss this with France or Korea. Korea traveled to Australia to compete for a qualification bid.

Finland had to play Russia while France awaited the announcment of a winner. Finland defeated Russia and faced France to determine the final qualification posting.

Sweden and Germany were awarded posts based on their performance and standing in other IFAF events.

Mexico, who played well in 1999 and 2003 had no opportunity. Canada was not even within consideration.

Yes, it is clear USA Football formed the roster of NCAA athletes. Why does NCAA not field the team themselves? Why did NCAA need USA Football? Well, for starters, NCAA had no futher dominion over the NCAA players on the roster as their NCAA eligibility had been exhausted. Each of them were seniors.

IFAF simply ran out of time to get the USA representative to meet the admission requirments. They would have had to urge USA Football to host ten teams in a Federation or League and post a national champion just as every country in the World Cup had to do. USA Football is the ONLY national representative that did not have to meet the requirements.

Again, due in large part to the pressure Japan placed on IFAF>

Anonymous said...

It is not simply as easy as attaching a conspiracy theory tag to the issue.

USA Football clearly did not meet the same guidlines that were required of the rest of the national federations.

There is a reason for this and it will be known only to about 4-5 individuals at IFAF and USA Football. This does not insinuate, as you say, that a conspiracy existed. It means, instead, that some at IFAF disregarded their own written By Laws as adopted by the congress of members to IFAF.

However, now that the US Team has participated and won fairly on a field of competition, there is no taking back their success and victory against an outstanding team from Japan.

Again, I say, the shame is placed upon some individuals at IFAF for breaking their own rules and permitting an organization who has no right to be deemed the national governing body in the USA to partcipate.

Gerry said...

You also have to ask yourself why the 10-team federation rule exists. The goal behind such a regulation is to one day have the sorts of leagues exist abroad that exist in the United States. To force the United States to create a parallel amateur league just to meet an arbitrary bylaw is ridiculous, and the IFAF was right in overlooking it.

To be succinct, the bylaws in the IFAF membership requirements exist to facilitate the promotion of American football in nations where it is not germane. To require another amateur league independent of the NCAA would be equivalent to playing a game of beaurocratic grab ass.

Anonymous said...

You should travel to Europe to see how these Leagues and Federations operate. Actually you may see this if you visit some of the league web sites.

The rules are not arbitrary. IFAF was not correct in overlooking its own set of By Laws. If By Laws are going to be ignored, let them be ignored following a proposal to amend them so that USA Football may be admitted without respect to the same body of rules other nation teams and federations were held to.

Again, I say they were carefully thought out and implemented in order to comply with General Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF) and not to simply promote the sport in countries where it is not germane as you suggest.

The reason the By Laws were adopted in conformity with GAISF is because it is the vision of IFAF "The goals of the organisation are: to be part of the international sporting community (Admission into the General Association of International Sports Federation, acceptance by the IOC , Participation in the World Games as well as the Olympic Games) and membership development. This is directly from IFAF.

I fear it will be difficult for IFAF when the propensity to disregard their own rules is presented to GAISF.

Gerry said...

Interesting point ... I had not considered that.

I may publish all of this at a later date as a point of further discussion.

Gerry said...

What's sad about all of this is that this competition obviously would have been meaningless without the United States involved.

The only way I can see this issue being reconciled is somehow merging USA Football and the NCAA, either as affiliates or with the NCAA taking over completely.

America will never have a competing amateur league alongside the NCAA. It isn't viable.

Anonymous said...

Can you imagine sitting in the position of Finland or Australia? Without the appointment of USA Football, as inappropriate as it has been, there would have been room for another Oceana or European Team to compete fairly. And, of course, I must point out that these two Federations followed the same rules as all the others did.

Japan would likely have won the event, but half the issue of competition is being afforded the opportunity to compete.

I appreciate our exchange. You have caused me to think far deeper into this environment than I had in the past and, of course, I hope I have caused some thought on the part of you and your readers.

I will enjoy reading the balance of this blog.

Anonymous said...

You are completely correct in this. The NCAA should have been the representative to the event and not USA Football. However, I have serious doubts the NCAA would actually become involved.

The competitions in 1999 and 2003 were not really meaningless. Ask Germany, Mexico and Japan of this meaningless quality. They were disappointed there was not a USA entry, but in the end, they felt good about the quality of the event.

In 1999 the AFCA attempted the event with Gene Stallings as the proposed head coach. They did not attend the event in Palermo, Italy.

There are semi-pro or other amateur teams and leagues in the USA but they are simply a ragged collection of supposed athletes with no discipline.

There are teams from the USA that travel each year to play in Europe and fare quite well. One or two have excellent reputations. But they do not have the institutional support to take control of the American teams entrance to an event such as this.

Gerry said...

Forget Finland and Australia ... they had at least the opportunity to qualify. I'm most outraged for Mexico and Canada, two football-friendly nations who were effectively shut out.

I've enjoyed the exchange, too. These issues need to be explored. The IFAF needs participation from the United States for it to have legitimacy, but that participation must be lawful. How to accomplish that is the dilemma, because there will never be a traditional federation in the United States, because it would be an incredible redundancy.

Gerry said...

By "meaningless," I mean that they in no way can be construed as a true world championship. I would even question WC 2007's legitimacy as a true indicator of a world champion, because the region of the world in which football is strongest was effectively shut out of the competition (with the exception of the United States).

I agree that the NCAA will not take on the role USA Football currently occupies. I do wonder if a partnership of some sort is possible, though.

Anonymous said...

That is the exact issue that IFAF will have to face. To ignore their own rules, and try to clean it up later, is unforgivable and will likely be a setback for IFAF in the eyes of the International Competition community. This will be brought to their attention by the Federations in Europe. The two personalities at IFAF have few friends outside their commune.

And I must agree that it is Mexico and Canada who are the real damaged parties in this case. It would have been nice to have been an ear in the room as they were informed that they have no opportunity to compete for the event. How must it have gone?

Anonymous said...

USA Football comes out of this with some stolen arrogance. Why would they now consider a partnership?

NCAA does not want this nor have they wanted it since the inception in 1999.

Aaron said...

I know that Mexico participated in the previous world cups, but has Canada ever had a team or expressed an interest in having a team?

How did Mexico qualify for 1999 and 2003? Does Mexico have 10 domestic teams?

Gerry said...

Why? Because the promotion of American football is very much in America's interests. If forming a partnership between the NCAA and USA Football will help promote the sport, thus opening new markets for marketing, then they will do it gladly.

Stolen arrogance? The America I know is interested in cash, not pride.

Anonymous said...

Mexico has a federation of collegiat teams and they crown a national champion each year. Their national team was selected from that federation.

Mexico did not have to compete regionally in 1999 or 2003 as there were no other participants from the Americas. Canada did not place a team in competition and, if they had, they would have been required to play Mexico before being offerred the position from the Americas.

Canada has a collegiate federation similar to that of Mexico. I am not sure why they have not participated in the past. Both countries of member teams far in excess of the required ten. Mexico met the requirments of IFAF in 1999 and 2003 fully without exception.

Anonymous said...

Marketing in Europe, Asia and all of Oceana is really an NFL urge more so then the NCAA.

NFL Europa has failed not because of a lack of interest in Europe but, instead, because NFL can get a great return on its investment in terms of merchandise sales, etc by playing regular season games in London, Frankfurt, etc. than by continuing to push NFL Europa teams.

Gerry said...

I think you're making the mistake of looking at the current situation, not the future potential. Remember that the players sent to IFAF events would be amateurs participating in NCAA competition, not players from the NFL. A partnership with USA Football would heighten awareness of NCAA competition because these players would be de facto marketing ambassadors for the league. While these players might eventually wind up wearing NFL uniforms, that would not be the case during their IFAF playing days.

Anonymous said...

True, however, there is an agreement between all NFL Franchise owners to share profits and an equaling of the playing field for thos smaller market teams such as Green Bay.

Look at the roster of the past US team in Japan. They are made up of DIII and DII players mostly. There are a few DI and DIAA players.

If you are a DI or DIAA athlete who just completed his final year of NCAA eligibility, are you going to Japan or elsewhere to play for a gold medal? I think not. I think you are going to be in Florida or some other nice place working out and preparing for NFL Camp even though you may have a full chance to make the team there. Your agent, your family and your coaches will urge you to pass.

A partnership betwen NCAA and USA Football will not sell USC, Michigan or Notre Dame merchandise.

This is tangent to my concerns. The athletes who were on the roster were beyond NCAA grasp as they were all ineligible for future NCAA competition.

Anonymous said...

I might point out, as well, that the largest attendance was just over 10,000. Average attendance at the games was something like 3,000. You won't sell a lot of merchandise or raise marketing awareness with numbers like those.

Gerry said...

Again, you're getting caught up in the present. This team was comprised of mostly D-II and D-III athletes. Future teams may feature players currently in college, hailing from schools like Michigan (the only college team in the 2007 WC with more than one representative), Notre Dame and other prominent programs.

Attendance at this World Cup was low, for sure. But the potential exists for growth. Partnership with USA Football would be a relatively low-risk, high-reward proposition for the NCAA, given that potential for growth.

Considering that a partnership between the two would instantly make USA Football eligible as per all of those bylaws, the amount of capital the NCAA would have to invest would be negligible, and it would get free advertising out of the deal.

Anonymous said...

That's all a possibility. However, in one of the most populated regions in the entire world, the population did not come out to see the event.

If you are a player from Notre Dam or Michigan or any Divsion I school, are you going to play in this between seasons? Is your coach going to allow it? Further, and most importantly to a Division I athlete, will your collegiate athletic eligibility remain intact? Under the current NCAA rules, there is not a chance of this.

Further, with the amount of money invested into Bowl Games, does the NCAA need this? What do you suppose is the maximum exposure and revenue dollars, net of all the NCAA revenue sharing, that may trickle down to the participating schools?

No, I think smarter people than I am will prevail in this one. NCAA will keep an arms length.

Gerry said...

Honestly, I'd have to look up all of the fine print on NCAA regulations regarding participation in an event such as this. My broad understanding is that so long as the players do not profit monetarily from the experience, there is no reason they'd be unable to participate.

Would coaches allow their players to play? Well, that would depend. It would mean extra practice and refinement before the NCAA season, but would come at the increased risk of injury.

Exposure dollars would depend on how well the sport grows. In theory, the sky would be the limit as the entire world outside America is unsaturated.

I believe it's at least possible the NCAA would become involved simply because the expense to them would be small. They don't need to supply equipment, start a separate league, or set any other groundwork. Longterm failure would be a very marginal setback, while success could reap substantial reward.

But that's just my musings on the subject and isn't based in much more than abstraction.

Anonymous said...

I'm reasonably familiar with NCAA eligibility requirements. The compensation does not have to be in monetary form. This can mean clothing, travel, telephone calls, meals, anythng of value. Recall there have been more than one NCAA Basketball team deserving of NCAA scrutiny over items such as Hotel room service infractions.

Currently, at the DIII and DII level, these teams are allowed to travel to Europe to play the teams in the national federations in Germany, Austria, Italy, etc (see globallfootball.com) but NCAA limits these trips to only one every four years per insitution and those smaller schools have much different requirements along with scholarship limitations.

Again, I do not envision NCAA become as involved as you might believe and I feel that the evidence of that will not be experienced for some time.

Gerry said...

I was including things such as hotels, clothing, etc. as "monetary value" ... I should have been clearer.

That said, if the national team were under the umbrella of the NCAA, things such as travel expenses would no longer be from an "outside source," which might cloud what is allowed and what isn't.

I agree that the NCAA likely won't get involved. My points were more to show the merit of why they should.

Anonymous said...

Yes, agreed again. Though the NCAA will likely not involve itself in the event, the event in full would become more honest with a great sense of legitimacy for the entire World Cup. The NCAA is the rightful national governing body of the sport at the amateur level. USA Football should never have been "appointed".

Here is a new issue, who is IFAF to appoint the national governing body of any sport in the USA? The national governing body, instead, should qualify under the rules of IFAF and apply for admission. This is not how it worked.

IFAF knocked on the door of USA Football. Not the other way around.

Jamba Monkee said...

It's crazy that three European teams and two Asian teams participated in this tournament and only one North American team did. Mexico should have been allowed to participate, especially since they won the last two silver medals. As far as Canada goes, I'm sure they be a shoo-in for a medal (probably silver), but are they even interested in sending a team to what is called an American (i.e., four-down) football tournament?

GlobalGridiron said...

OK, that was a lot to digest. I'll try to clear a few things up.

1. Mexico & Canada had the opportunity to compete in this World Cup and chose not to. Don't blame IFAF or USA Football for the mistake of the Canadien and Mexican Federations.

2. I assure you that whatever "requirements" you believe USA Football failed to meet, they met them. Why are there efforts to discredit this event or anything (i.e. USA Football, IFAF) related to it? Is this productive or just a product of our culture in the US? I promise you USA Football went through the proper procedures to become a member of IFAF. And in no way is the NCAA the governing body of amateur football in the U.S.

3. NCAA athletes from any country were not able to participate because of NCAA rules. Australia has some players currently on scholarship and I'm sure some other countries have a hand full as well. I do agree that there needs to be some more cooperation between IFAF/USA Football and the NCAA for the future but they are completely independent of each other.

4. Weather had a lot to do with attendance at the World Cup. The Typhoon was expected to hit land right around the time of the championship. I'm pretty sure the Japanese have more experience with Typhoons than we do and made the safe decision. If a hurricane was expected to hit Miami during the 1st game of the season how many fans do you think would show up? You get the point.

5. The quality of this event was World Class, regardless of anyone's thoughts on the legitimacy. I would welcome some suggestions for the 2011 World Cup by a few of you that have shown deep interest in the event and understand the whole picture, privately.

Anonymous said...

Check out USA Football's board of directors. The NCAA has a seat on that board that is currently filled by Maryland's AD. The National Federation of State High School Assocations has a seat as well. As does the American Football Coaches Association.

The assertion that USA Football is not affiliated with the NCAA in any way is, at best, incorrect and, at worst, a complete distortion of the facts.

Also, Mexico and Canada had the opportunity to participate in the World Cup. Mexico's federation (FMFA) is delinquent in its dues to IFAF and was prohibited from competing as a result. Canada chose not to compete but is expected to in 2011.

Had either country wanted to compete the U.S. would have had to play at least one qualifying game to reach Japan.

My guess is that the person who is complaining about Team USA's appearance at the World Cup has another agenda that he/she is not revealing to us. Perhaps you're affilated with Rudy Wyland in some way.

maverickbooster said...

anonymous, bottom line is IFAF is looking to validate their existence and the only way to do that is get a team from the USA involved. No disrespect meant to Mexico or Canada but having them in the tournament would not accomplish what I believe to be their ends. To have American football become an accepted international sport.

Game Time said...

Obviously for American Football to grow it needs two things which must be balanced against each other- US sponsorship and support; and to develop interest in other parts of the world.

I believe including three European and two Asian teams helped to partially accomplish the latter. Of course more competitive games in the early rounds, perhaps minor rules to help the offenses might help.

If the tournament were completely dominated by North American teams, it would do little more than stroke the egos of Americans, which would not generate increased interest anywhere. A "Dream Team" would kill it. That said, I think the quality of the Japanese team in comparison with Canada and Mexico is being underestimated- they have won several of the Junior championships, and could have easily won the game on Sunday.

Unfortunately, there seemed to be hardly any news coverage of the World Cup in the States- and no TV that I am aware of. Not sure what was tried in this regard. But this is critical for US exposure and eventually income- even if it is necessary to give the TV rights away initially- to ESPN-2, PBS, the NFL network, CSTV, the upcoming Big Ten network, or whomever.

Likewise, in Europe and Japan, exposure needs to be increased, especially on free TV, to reach as wide an audience as possible and try to develop new fans.

The NFL or the NCAA needs to be involved to support this- I would suspect that the NFL would have more of a vested interest, as it is a way help discover players as well as to increase interest. Personally, I would like to see the NCAA involved, as a way to increase branding.

maverickbooster said...

Maybe the next World Cup of American Football should take a lesson from Soccer and have more teams in the tournament AND be played in the United States. It would be the perfect opportunity to drum up interest for the international game, similar to what happened with Women's soccer in the US after the '99 Women's world cup. But I believe not letting the best players play will always leave the American people feeling that this is not a true world championship. Does international soccer (FIFA) have these same rules. Maybe IFAF should look to them for guidance.

maverickbooster said...

And I don't believe a "Dream Team" would kill it. Look what happened with International basketball. Other countries are catching up to us.

Game Time said...

I think rules such as those requruing a number of teams in a league; or a certain number of games played- were to ensure that the participating country was indeed serious about football, with a legitimate chance to compete. As organized football is well established at both the professional and amateur level in the US, I think there is little doubt in anyone's minds as to whether they should be included in the tournament, and thus these rules were waived.

Gerry said...

The reason more countries were not involved was financial. Mexico didn't pony up the dough, and many other countries have no sponsors, making travel commitments impossible.

Anonymous said...

Who is Rudy Wyland and how does he fit into broken IFAF Rules?

Anonymous said...

Having members of a board who represent one organization or another does not mean those organizations are affiliated.

Anonymous said...

Game time, rules are always rules. If rules are waived it pullutes and deteriorates the organization. If exceptions are to be made, those exceptions should be made in the light of day rather than in a subversive and sneaky way. Yes, it is easier to get forgiveness and understanding then to get a buy-in or permission from IFAF members, but is that the way politics and international competition is supposed to work?

There are reasons, then there are excuses. You're bringing up excuses for someone breaking the rules.

msubasic said...

You definitely need to have more than one North/Central American participant. I think the NFL Global Junior Championships is a better gauge of national strength then this tournament is. Canada has always been first or second in that tournament (and Japan no better than third) so not having Canada is a major blow to this world cup.

leviramsey said...

One idea I have, though this is as much a USA Football thing as it is an IFAF thing is to extend the rules which picked the World Cup team to something like the Australian State of Origin competitions.

A tournament could be held every 2 years, featuring 56 teams as follows:

* 49 teams representing each state except California
* 1 team each for Northern California, Southern California, the District of Columbia, Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico/the Caribbean, and US-associated Pacific Territories (e.g. Guam, American Samoa, etc.)

Players would have the choice of state to represent, however, each player must have either:

* graduated from college in that state
* graduated from high school in that state
* been born in that state
* for the four "foreign" teams, if a player's grandparent would have qualified under one of the above rules, that player is eligible

Each team would have an up-to-50-man roster. All players must have graduated from college. There are 42 at-large roster spots, plus 2 spots each for graduates of I-AA, II, III, and NAIA schools.

Once a player participates in at least 25% (thus a majority of offensive or defensive downs) of plays from scrimmage in a game, he is considered tied to that team and cannot play for any other.

Providing the opportunity to settle the age-old debate of which state plays the best football woud generate interest. Additionally, the champion states could become the representatives of the US for subsequent IFAF competitions, providing a route for qualification (and also, given the relative populations, European teams might have a greater chance against state-based teams in a World Cup).

The 2011 World Cup should be expanded to 12 teams in 4 groups of 3, and a similarly expanded structure for determining 1st through 6th places:

Groups A-D (1A being winner of Group A)

Second round (loser eliminated)
1A-1B
2A-2B
3A-3B
1C-1D
2C-2D
3C-3D

Final round
winners of 1st place games for 1st/2nd place
winners of 2nd place games for 3rd/4th place
winners of 3rd place games for 5th/6th place

The entire competition could be played over the course of 2-3 weeks.

Anonymous said...

Hi folks,

the situation with the 2007 qualifier was that neither Canada nor Mexico applied to qualify for WC 2007.

Therefore USA was not an invitee but directly qualified.

The qualification system is that the hosting country and the World Champions of the previous tournament is automatically qualified. Than each contintental federation (at the moment Europe, Asia and Pan America) get one sport. If there are more spots avaiable those spots are allocated depending on the number of members of that continent. And so far Europa had 26 out of 50 members of IFAF in total.

For sure in the WC 2011 will be two teams from Pan America since USA is Champion and on continental spot is allocated to Pan America.

Best regards
Robert Huber
IFAF General Secretary

J.R. Salazar said...

For those of you wondering about Rudy Wyland, the link is here.

Not sure that this should have any relevance to the reforms here, though.

stp1000 said...

This would be my rankings.
1 United States
2 Japan
3 Germany
4 Mexico
5 Sweden
6 Italy
7 South Korea
8 France
9 Finland
10 Australia

stp1000 said...

The 2011 World Cup is in Austria. Look it up on Wikipedia.

stp1000 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
stp1000 said...

This is my rankings theat I developed on a system of 6 pts. for a first place finish and 1 pt. for a sixthplace finish. I also give each nation an additional 2 pts. for every win. I only use World Cup and World Games in these rankings.

Pos. Team Tot. Points
1 Japan 31
2 Germany 24
3 Sweden 20
4 Mexico 16
5 United States 12
6 France 10
t7 Italy 5
t7 Australia 5
9 South Korea 4
10 Finland 1

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