Italy becomes 9th international football league to join forces with CFL

CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie. (Frank Gunn/CP)

TORONTO — Add Italy to the growing list of international football federations working with the CFL.

The Federazione Italiana di American Football (FIDAF) and the CFL announced they will team up in a partnership to grow the game on Wednesday.

Italy becomes the ninth country this off-season to form a partnership with the CFL, joining Mexico, Germany, Austria, France, Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland.

The FIDAF has a top division of nine teams, 62 clubs in two lower divisions, a growing flag football movement with more than 55 junior and 38 senior teams, and a women’s championship.

The agreement includes co-operation on player health and safety issues and coaching exchanges.

It’s possible players from Italy could attend next month’s CFL national combine in Toronto. The countries also are discussing whether there could be player exchanges, seeing Canadians play in Italy and Italians offered opportunities in U Sports and junior football.

"We can do more together to grow our game than we can on our own," CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie said in a statement.

"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."

FIDAF president Leoluca Orlando is happy with the deal.

"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," Orlando said.

"There is so much we can do together for our athletes, our fans and our game."

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