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Competition participation on path of growth
A competition participation survey, compiled by EFAF's Technical Director Paul Vincent Miraval, has shown that EFAF competitions in tackle and flag football are well-accepted throughout Europe. 20 nations from all across Europe have participated in at least one of EFAF's competitions, following the example of Germany and Austria, which were represented in all of the competitions under examination. An additional 12 nations sent teams to at least three tournaments in the 2010-2011 competition period and were represented on both club and national teams level. Europe remains the only continent, where non-professional and non-collegiate american football is played internationally to such extent.
While it takes time and further efforts on EFAF's and the member federations' sides to further expand these numbers, it has to be noted that EFAF's approach to organize these competitions has proven to be consistently successful and will certainly have long-term effects to attain the goal of a true globalization of the sports of american football. From a global perspective the North American continent with its Pro and collegiate leagues certainly is a shining example for what could be possible, but the situation still remains a completely different one in the rest of the world.
In developing new competitions or updating formats for current tournaments it is EFAF's goal to not only attract teams from nations where american football already has reached the levels of for instance Germany or Austria - but also to enable teams from smaller countries to participate. As public funding of sports in a lot of nations is getting more and more insecure it is a sad fact that outside the U.S. and Canada nearly everywhere in the world american football athletes have to take their own share in financing all activities.
Competition design always has to acknowledge the current situation - even if the long-term goals to change american football's public perception for the better are on everybody's mind. For example EFAF was able to lift the final games of the European championships or the Eurobowl (and some of the World Cup games) onto television screens and these games also featured record attendances - but still some tackle football player or a some flag football junior their teams need some very different assistance before they could compete in tournaments abroad.
Fortunately some of the bigger member federations of EFAF share the same perspective and contribute their logistical experience in staging events which enable all member federations to attend. Sometimes compromises have to be made to accomodate all aspects - for instance the scheduling formula for this year's EuroFlag tournament at Thonon-les-Bains to some extent had to be kind of unbalanced to allow the teams from Israel to participate. But still the French federation in charge of the tournament not only managed to provide a compact and smoothly-run tournament on an action-packed weekend, but also made it affordable for the attending teams by only charging a small nominal entry fee.