The U19 European Championship to be held in Bologna from July 29 to August 4 was presented during a press conference in the CONI Salone d’Onore attended by CONI President Giovanni Malagò, FIDAF President Leoluca Orlando and Bologna City Councilor Roberta Li Calzi.
American football is set to headline another international event in Italy: the U19 European Championship to be held in Bologna from July 29 to August 4. The championship was officially presented yesterday during a press conference in the CONI Salone d’Onore in Rome which was attended by the President of the Italian National Olympic Committee Giovanni Malagò, FIDAF President Leoluca Orlando, Bologna City Councilor Roberta Li Calzi and the many organizations partnering the Italian Federation for this event.
Giovanni Malagò hosted the press conference and wished the FIDAF the best of luck with its work, acknowledging the immense potential of a sport like American football and that not many sports can deliver such spectacular events. As a keen American football fan, Mr. Malagò expressed his personal pride in the Italian National Olympic Committee which excels at supporting many different sports, reminding everyone that, “The CONI is home to all sports”, including American football.
Roberta Li Calzi gave a very well-received speech during which she emphasized the City Council’s 360° commitment to sport in Bologna, a city that this year alone is hosting a variety of major events, such as the UEFA European Under-21 Championship. Ms. Li Calzi also highlighted that Emilia Romagna is home to sixteen American football teams, of which four are in Bologna and one of those is a women’s team. So, what better setting for the European Championship.
President Orlando thanked his staff for all the incredible work they do day in day out, despite their very limited resources, to keep American football alive and well in Italy. The Italian Federation continues to receive support and praise from the international community as proved by Italy’s successful bid to host this U19 European Championship, after hosting the senior championship in 2013 and the 2014 Flag Football World Championship.
After a video from Andy Fuller, the Managing Director of the International Federation of American Football (IFAF), who later called President Malagò to thank him personally, Eugenio Meini and Luca Lorandi, the GM and Head Coach of the U19 national team, took turns to speak. The program for the quarterfinals was revealed with Italy taking on Denmark on the evening of July 29. This will be the first big test as Luca Lorandi reminded everyone that Denmark sealed a podium place at the last two European championships, and it will take a monumental performance to beat them. The Italians will meet for one final training camp at the start of June before the coaching staff announce the names of the forty-five players called up to represent their county in Bologna.
Finally, all the sponsors and partners that have confirmed their support for the FIDAF were presented. First up was BKT, the Indian multinational which already sponsors the Italian Serie B soccer league and is now the Presenting Sponsor of the European Championship. This important partnership came about thanks to Havas Sports & Entertainment, the FIDAF’s partner in organizing the latest editions of the Italian Bowl (the finals of the Italian tackle championships) which will handle all the logistics for the European Championship. Next were Alce Nero, the official supplier of organic products for Casa Italia, Antiche Fonti di Cottorella, which will supply water, Associazione Bazzanostra from the town of Valsamoggia which will host the Italian team’s headquarters from July 21, Bayer Team Sports, the event’s Technical Sponsor, BeeBad, the championship’s energy drink, Birrificio Maltenano, which will organize food and beverages in the two villages set up in the Arcoveggio and Lunetta Gamberini Stadiums where the games will be played, C.M.P. Global Medical Division, which will provide all the on-site healthcare, Hotel Alla Rocca in Bazzano, which will be “Casa Italia” throughout the event, the IMG Academy which is providing the prize for the tournament’s MVP (a week in Florida at the exclusive IMG Academy), the SSML Carlo Bo school for interpreters whose Bologna branch will provide tutoring services for the teams, and RDS 100% Grandi Successi, the European Championship’s official radio station.
Sweden, Austria, Denmark, France, Finland, Italy, the Netherlands and Norway: this is the top eight ranking decided by the IFAF a few days again from which we get the matchups for the quarterfinals. In addition to the game between Italy and Denmark, Austria will take on the Netherlands, France faces Finland and Sweden squares off against Norway on July 29
The press conference was preceded by the opening of the “La Danza dei Giganti” (The Dance of the Giants) photographic exhibition featuring thirty photographs by some of Italy’s top sports photographers which will tour Italy over the coming year.
The press conference was streamed live on the Italian federation’s YouTube channel, FIDAF TV, where it is still available to watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HyFO5OuLqnA