Canadian Football League and eleven international partners join forces

CALGARY (November 22, 2019) – In an historic ceremony, football leaders from twelve countries came together to launch the International Alliance of Gridiron Football (IAGF) – a new global movement committed to growing the game.

“We are each stronger when we all work and build and dream together,” said Randy Ambrosie, Canadian Football League (CFL) Commissioner and the new organization’s catalyst. “Our intention is not to replace or infringe upon any existing governing body, as we deeply respect the work already being done on the game’s behalf. Our mission is to create a new forum where we can develop new ways to grow our game to our mutual benefit.”

The International Alliance of Gridiron Football includes the leadership of the sport’s federations and elite leagues in Austria, Canada, Great Britain, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Norway and Sweden. The Alliance will hold its inaugural meeting in 2020 to set the agenda for the group’s work.

The ‘founding agreement’ signed today outlines the Alliance’s mandate to:

  • Encourage more young people to try football, and to continue pursuing the game in all its forms – from a simple game of ‘catch’ to touch football, flag football, and tackle football at the amateur and professional levels.
  • Build pathways which allow football players to fully follow their passion and fulfill their dreams, regardless of birthplace and unrestricted by borders.
  • Share experiences and expertise in areas such as player health and safety, officiating, coaching and player development, and more, to develop best practices in each country.
  • Seek new opportunities to serve fans with experiences that are deeper and more varied than ever, while attracting new fans and followers to the sport.
  • Pursue revenue opportunities that elevate all members of the Alliance while exploiting none.

“Our bilateral partnership with the CFL has already led to Mexican players finding opportunities in Canada, while also providing more Canadians with the chance to play in Mexico,” said Oscar Perez, President of the Liga de Futbol Americano (LFA), Mexico’s premier professional football league. “The IAGF allows us to build a multi-lateral organization on the same foundations of mutual respect, cooperation and love of the game.”

“The Alliance is a major step forward for countries playing gridiron football,” added Robert Huber, President of the American Football Verband Deutschland (AFVD), which includes the elite German Football League (GFL). “None of us is the biggest on our own, but together, we are bigger and stronger and we can continue to grow our membership and our game.”

“Football is the ultimate team game; no player can succeed on his own,” said Pierre Trochet, Head of Business Operations for the Fédération Française de Football Américain (FFFA). “It makes perfect sense for all of us to come together united as we look for new and innovative ways to lift up ourselves by lifting up each other and the game.”

“Ours is not a top-down approach. This is a collaboration of partners who respect each other and value our game above all,” noted Ambrosie.

The CFL has declared its intention to grow its international flavor and to deepen its global footprint. The league has integrated more global players on its rosters, sought additional opportunities for Canadian players outside of Canada and the U.S., and worked to expand its fan base and business opportunities beyond North America.

In 2019, the CFL featured designated ‘global players’ from outside the U.S. and Canada on its nine member clubs – a first for the league. Next season, the number of global players per team will grow from up-to-three to as many as five.

The league and its international partners have scheduled CFL Combines this winter across Europe, as well as, in Mexico and Japan, which will precede a Global CFL Draft next spring.

“As we build a CFL that is both proudly Canadian and boldly international, we want to work with our partners, and see them work with one another, as we grow the game everywhere it’s played,” Ambrosie said.

“That cooperation and unity is what this International Alliance of Gridiron Football is all about.”

Lucas Barrett

Manager, Communications & Public Affairs, Canadian Football League

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