The last few months have proven to be challenging, both personally for many individuals, and for our sport and its reputation.
Since the Executive Board accepted the resignation of Mr Wiking in early 2015 and the subsequent claims made regarding a change of position by Mr Wiking, the uncertainty over the leadership of the International Federation of American Football (IFAF) has placed a strain on our members and has damaged the perception of our sport in the eyes of many – damage that will take time to repair as we seek to rebuild trust and confidence.
I can confirm that in our organization’s legal seat in Paris, the Minutes of the Congress held in Canton, Ohio, which were circulated to members after the Congress and which saw Minette Rogner elected as Secretary and I as President alongside a continuation of the mandate for Mac Kaneuji as Senior Vice President and Scott Hallenbeck as Treasurer, have been submitted to the Prefecture as the authoritative documentation. This task has been handled by our Paris-based law firm: Bertrand & Associe.
We do not recognize the authenticity of any other meeting held in Canton, be it in the hotel lobby or elsewhere, claiming to be a legitimate Congress. As a consequence of this, we do not recognize the Extraordinary Meeting of IFAF called for Paris in March. Member nations are advised not to attend.
Despite the statement that the meeting has been called by the Executive Board, it should be noted that representatives from Continental Federations and Athlete Representatives did not take part in any decision making. Indeed, despite claims from Mr Wiking and his group that Mr Kaneuji is the Senior Vice President on their Presidium, Mr Kaneuji does not recognize their authenticity and he does not take part in any of their meetings.
It is noted that at present the bank account, certain media accounts and wider assets are not under the auspices of the Executive Board. We will work with our lawyers on the process of repatriating IFAF’s assets, both financial and other, to the control of the Executive Board.
Whilst the process of repatriating the assets is undertaken we understand that nations will be concerned about paying their fees. We shall not be requesting IFAF membership fees in the short term and those teams seeking to compete in championships will be advised of banking arrangements.
In the coming days I shall write to all nations to set out the timetable and framework for the Congress in 2016. I shall also seek urgent talks with international partners to discuss how we should progress in the coming months in regard to rebuilding our relationships and continue to make the case for closer integration into the international sporting community.
Earlier this year we set out a framework for reviewing the governance of our sport. Early conclusions from this were presented at the Congress in Ohio. It is never easy hearing criticism and nor is it easy to deliver for those presenting it. However, the Executive Board have asked Andy Fuller to continue with this work and to engage as broad a group of people as possible to shape the plans for IFAF’s future. Our thinking must include the views of our members and wider experts who can provide valuable insight.
At Congress we set out a budget for the year. One of my first duties will be to provide an update as to where we stand with our budget as we have not had oversight of this for the past few months.
Finally, we recognise that there is considerable work to be done and that the emphasis must be on unity. We look forward to everyone playing a part in developing football for the benefit of those people around the world who love to watch or take part in the game we are here to support.