Courtesy of Europlayers.
The EFAF European Championships 2014 will be held in Austria. EFAF has assigned the organization of the elite six-team tournament to the Austrian federation AFBÖ. The tournament will be held from May 30 until June 7, when it will conclude with the final game at Ernst Happel Stadium at Vienna. The game for third place will also be played in Austria's biggest and state-of-the-art arena. Preliminary group matches are scheduled in St. Pölten and Graz. The matches in the preliminary group of reigning European champion Germany and the fourth and fifth-placed teams of the last A-pool tournament from Sweden and Finland will be played in St. Pölten. France, runner-up in 2010, and the European Championships bronze medalist of 2010 and 2014 host Austria and the winner of the upcoming B-pool tournament in Italy for group play will join in Graz.
In 2007 and 2009 Austria already hosted European Championship tournaments for the C- and B-pool and a spectacular World Cup in 2011. "We are very pleased that it will be possible to experience this special and great American football atmosphere in Austria at the European Championships. At Vienna's Ernst Happel Stadium we surely will celebrate another big day for European American football just like we did 2010 at the Commerzbank Arena in Frankfurt," EFAF president Robert Huber said. "We are happy to be able to continue the long tradition of European Championships under the direction of EFAF in Austria."
European Championships in American football are held regularly since 1983. In 2014 the 13th European champion will be crowned in Austria. So far Finland won five, Germany, Italy and the UK two and Sweden one championship. Defending champion at the European Championships 2014 will be Germany, which in 2010 defeated France in the final game 26-10. Austria was third in this tournament in Germany. Since 2003, the European Championships are held in three different stages, with the winners of the C- and B-Pool tournaments each to promote to the next higher level. Winner of the C-pool tournament in 2012 was Serbia, the B-pool tournament 2013 will take place from August 31 to September 7 in Milan/Italy. In addition to Italy and Serbia it will be Denmark, Spain, the Czech Republic and Great Britain that battle for a spot in the A-pool for 2014 in Austria.
Austria has proved between 2007 and 2010, that it is possible to advance directly from the C-pool to the A-pool. The national team of Austria won the C- and the B-championship and went even further: The Austrians earned the third European spot for the World Cup, as three European teams are generally qualified. In the opening match of the A-pool tournament the Austrians only narrowly were defeated (20-22) by hosting Germany. This again fanned the rivalry between these two neighbouring countries, which will be one of the most exciting ingredients of the upcoming tournament in 2014, when the hosts will be Austria and the defending champion stems from Germany. Both countries field claims to be the number one in European American football, and this and the cooperation between the two national federations currently are vivid elements in the future development of EFAF and American football in Europe.