Everyone has heard of the American Football Superbowl, its big pop-star performances, record viewing figures and crazy money for adverts etc. - but how many know about Women’s American Football?
We spoke with Roope Noronen, President SAJL – FINLAND and Vice President of the IFAF as well as Finnish international player Elina Kero to help us
understand more about it.
Women’s American Football has the same rules as that of their male counterparts, starting in 2006 as semi contact (flag), becoming full contact in
2008 with the first World Championship being held in 2010. From then on it has grown from strength to strength with 66 national member federations
in six continents under the governing of the IFAF currently. The Women’s World Championships program is run under the International Federation of American
Football which is the IOC recognized governing body of American football organizing events in tackle, flag and beach flag football.
Speaking of being selected in 2008 for the Finnish team, Elina Kero said “it was a really big thing to be selected, an honour.” For her and the rest
of the team, as with so many female sports women around the world, she works full time whilst fitting in between 5-7 training sessions and a match
(season depending) each week.
In 2013 the World Championships were held in Finland with USA winning, Canada taking silver and Finland taking bronze. (It was played though with
a 3-year cycle to get into the four year cycle better suited for IFAF competitions. So the next competition will take place in 2017).
“What an incredible experience - but also for all the people that came to watch for the first time, they saw the tackles were real and that surprised
them!” Elina laughs. “To win over [sic] Germany was amazing because they are very good team to get our bronze medal,” she says describing the tough
This is a sport that is growing with nations and fans alike. The commitment from all the athletes in this and so many other minority sports is huge,
but by 2017 when the next World Championship takes place it may have become mainstream?
In the meantime if you would like more information please visit www.ifaf.org for the governing body, and link to the competing countries in 2013:
USA - www.usafootball.com
Canada - www.footballcanada.ca
Finland - www.sajl.fi
Germany - www.afvd.de
Sweden - www.saff.se
Spain - www.fefa.es
For those of you new to Womens’ American Football, enjoy your new found sport! And thanks again to Roope Noronen and Elina Kero for their time and