American Football Championship to be Held in China
26 Jan, 2016
China has been provisionally awarded the 2016 International Federation of American Football (IFAF) Under-19 World Championship, it has been announced.
The event is scheduled to be held at Harbin University of Commerce in early July and will be coordinated by American Football Union (AFU) China and local partners.
"We are delighted to work with IFAF on the staging of this prestigious event," said Ken Li, founder and chairman of the AFU.
"Both AFU and our partners have worked hard to lay the foundations for a tremendous Championship for the competing nations and create a platform to support the wider development of the game across our country."
This is due to be the fourth occasion the tournament has been held since its debut in Canton, Ohio, in 2009 when the hosts the United States beat Canada 41-3 in the final.
It was next staged three years later in Austin in Texas when Canada defeated the US 23-17 in the final.
The Championship last took place in 2014 when it was held outside the US for the first time, taking place in Kuwait when America regained the title, beating old rivals Canada 40-17 in the final.
The tournament may have so far been dominated the two countries where the sport is most played but Japan finished third in 2009 and 2012, while Mexico took the bronze medal two years ago.
Austria, meanwhile have reached the last two third-placed playoffs.
"We are thrilled to be hosting the Under-19 World Championships in China in 2016," Andy Fuller, managing director of the French-based IFAF, said.
"The Championships will shine a light on the fantastic work being undertaken by a range of stakeholders in China to develop football and the nation's hosting of a major event such as the Under-19 World Championship will serve to provide an incredible inspiration to so many."
Hosting a major event like the IFAF Under-19 World Championship should be a major boost to the development of American football in China, it is claimed by officials ©YouTube
It could be a big year for the sport in China.
A new professional league called CAFL (China American Football League) is due to be launched later this year.
The CAFL project is headed up by ESPN National Football League analyst and Ron Jaworski, the majority owner and President of Philadelphia Soul, members of the American Conference in the Arena Football League, the highest level of professional indoor American football in the United States
AFL coaches and trainers traveled to China to help teach the rules of the sport to squads made up of Chinese and American players.
There remain doubts, however, over when the CAFL will officially start, having already been postponed from last year.