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  • New American Football League to Play in Europe


    On Tuesday, Zeljko Karajica of SEH Sports & Entertainment Holding and Patrick Esume, probably the most well known and connected European in American Football, announced that they will launch the first fully professional American Football League since NFL Europe packed up and left the continent in 2007. 


    In June of 2021, the European League of Football, or ELF, will launch with eight teams. Six will be located in Germany with teams calling the cities of Hamburg, Berlin, Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Hannover and Ingolstadt, home. The seventh team will feature the Wroclaw Panthers from Poland, perhaps the biggest powerhouse in European American Football. An eighth team will be featured at a later date. 


    Patrick Esume, better known on the gridiron as "Coach" Esume, has a stellar resume on the European continent. The former linebacker won multiple German Bowls, Eurobowls, and World Bowls as a player. Currently, Esume is the Head Coach of the French National Team, who most recently won gold at the 2017 World Games in Wroclaw, as well as the latest version of the European Championship


    Esume is confident that this venture will work, and believes that the ELF will allow the sport of American Football to flourish in Europe: 


    “With more than 65,000 members in 500 clubs, the football family in Germany has doubled since 2008. The ratings of the NFL broadcasts are growing from year to year, with almost two million people in front of their TV’s during the Super Bowl 2020. The desire for football is gigantic – and our proud franchises and the ELF will satisfy that need in the NFL-free time with top European sport.”


    Do I love this idea? Of course. I think anything to grow the game of American Football is great. However, American Football is a costly sport. There is a reason why it is not as popular as other "easily accessible" sports across the globe.


    Starting a league with the premier team in Europe on your side is great, but there is a need for DEEP pockets if they want to fund a "fully professional" American Football league. Let's even throw paying the players out of the equation. They still will need to pay for facilities, physios, room and board, equipment, coaches and staff. 


    The current format of American Football in Europe works because teams only pay three players, their import players. In most European leagues, teams are allowed three "imports" or American players, who are paid a very low salary, but are given benefits such as room, board, and flights. 


    A full professional league is going to need more than just three Americans on a roster. If you want a quality professional American Football league, you're going to need quality players. Therefore an import rule of at least ten Americans per team would be required. Here is the major question: Does the ELF have enough funding and money to operate a successful American Football League? Former start ups such as the XFL, AAF, UFL, AFL all took major loses and eventually folded. If the ELF is serious about being "fully" professional, then they better be "fully" funded. 


    Here's the hard fact. American Football Leagues come and go. I've played in many of these now "folded" leagues, and I've learned one thing. The NFL is king. If you're looking to make money playing, coaching, or even promoting American Football, you go to the NFL. Outside of that, no one cares about adult American Football. 


    Photo: Wroclaw Olympic Stadium (


    Source: (

    John Foyne

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