TORONTO — Italy has joined the parade of gridiron football playing nations pledging to work with the Canadian Football League to grow the game, it was announced on Wednesday.
“We are so pleased and excited that our football brothers and sisters in Italy are joining what is rapidly becoming a multinational movement,” said Randy Ambrosie, Commissioner of the Canadian Football League.
“Our discussions have underlined for us that the passion for gridiron football in Italy is second to none.”
The Federazione Italiana di American Football (FIDAF) boasts a top division of 9 teams, 62 clubs in two lower divisions, a growing Flag Football movement with more than 55 junior tand 38 senior teams, and an outstanding Women’s Championship.
“We welcome this opportunity to share opportunities and expertise with our friends in football from Canada, home to one of the world’s oldest and strongest football traditions,” said President Leoluca Orlando.
“There is so much we can do together for our athletes, our fans and our game.”
The Italian federation and the CFL agreed to explore:
Cooperation on player health and safety issues and between their medical doctors and athletic therapists.
Whether top players from Italy might attend the CFL’s national combine, which features top Canadian and international prospects, next month in Toronto.
Coaching exchanges between the two countries.
Creating better pathways for Canadian players from U SPORTS, Canada’s university football system, and junior football, to continue their playing careers in Italy, and more opportunities for young Italian football players to study and play football in Canada.
The CFL has already reached similar agreements with leading football organizations in Mexico, Germany, Austria, France, Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland.
“We can do more together to grow our game than we can on our own,” Ambrosie said.
The leader of Canada’s professional league, whose Grey Cup championship is more than a century old, is building what he calls CFL 2.0.
It features a plan to strengthen ties with gridiron football playing countries around the world.
“We can improve our international footprint, expand our talent pool, and possibly create new broadcast and streaming markets for our games, at the same time we contribute to and learn from leagues around the world,” he said.
The CFL’s National Combine presented by New Era, the first to feature prospects from overseas alongside top young Canadians from U SPORTS and the NCAA in the United States, will take place March 22-24 in Toronto.
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