The International Federation of American Football (IFAF) has awarded hosting rights to the 2023 European Youth Flag Football Championships to the Italian Federation of American Football (FIDAF).
For the second consecutive time, the continent’s top youth players will head to Fattoria La Principina in Grosseto, in the heart of Tuscany’s Maremma region in September, to compete for U17 and U15 titles in hopes of emulating the success of Italy (U17 boys and girls, U15 boys) and Slovenia (U15 girls) in 2021.
In a groundbreaking first for IFAF competition, this year’s U15 tournament will be contested by mixed-gender teams – a development that reflects flag football’s highly inclusive nature and is in line with trends for greater integration of male and female athletes in international sport.
The announcement comes at a time of great excitement in the world of flag football as IFAF embarks on a significantly expanded cycle of global competition and with the sport in the spotlight following this weekend’s first staging of the NFL Pro Bowl event in a flag football format.
FIDAF President, Leoluca Orlando, said:
“We are delighted and proud to be hosting a European event in our country again. Italy is recognized as one of the top countries in this sport and it will be thrilling for our young players to have the chance to defend the European title on home turf! I would like to thank IFAF for placing their trust in our Federation; I have every confidence that we are up to the task of organizing another top-flight event, now that we are finally free from the shadow of the pandemic which took such a toll on attendance figures in 2021.
“Confirmation of Fattoria La Principina as the stage on which to set these European Championships reflects the desire of the IFAF and FIDAF to select facilities that can recreate the atmosphere of an Olympic Village and make it easier for players to mix and interact, thereby promoting the principles of inclusion, friendship, fair play and solidarity that our sport successfully conveys better than any other.”
The President of the Italian National Olympic Committee (CONI), Giovanni Malagò, also welcomed the news. Malagò, who has always appreciated the FIDAF’s commitment to organizing events and keeps a close eye on all the developments surrounding the International Federation’s efforts to have flag football recognized as an Olympic sport, said:
“I am extremely pleased to see Italy awarded yet another marquee international event. I would like to congratulate the FIDAF for its continued hard work in promoting flag football, one of the world’s fastest growing sports, with exciting prospects for the future.”
IFAF President, Pierre Trochet, added:
“It’s a great pleasure to be returning to Italy with the support of our fantastic partners at the FIDAF for this event, which continues to grow in numbers and competitiveness year-on-year. In 2023 these Championships will make history, with the introduction of mixed gender competition at continental youth level representing another exciting development for our sport as we look to enhance our offer in line with the interests and expectations of new generations of young people. It promises to be an unmissable event in a year when IFAF’s global flag football calendar sees significant expansion.”
The International Federation of American Football (IFAF) is the international governing body for the sport of American football and is responsible for all regulatory, competition, performance and development aspects of the game on a global level. Provisionally recognised by the International Olympic Committee, IFAF is a member of GAISF and a signatory to the WADA Code. IFAF has 72 member nations across 5 continents.