European American Football

The history off European American Football dates back at least to the First World War and the tours by American Servicemen. From 1972 onwards there have been attempts by the National Football League (NFL) and other Professional American Football Leagues to establish Professional American Football in Europe. while none of these attempts have so far been successful it has led to numerous leagues all over Europe played by Europeans.

There have been European Championships (for National Teams) since 1983 and likewise the Eurobowl (for Club Champions) since 1984. Regional Champions Leagues such as the Atlantic Cup which Irish teams entered have also been competed for since the 1980s. The first National Leagues were in Italy (1977), Germany (1979) and Finland (1980) and there are now either teams or leagues everywhere even including such small countries as Luxembourg and Iceland, except Greece and a few small countries.

European Internationals

The First European Championships for European National teams took place in 1983, there have also been tours by European teams to USA and American and Canadian teams to Europe.

European Championships

AFEF 1983; EFL 1987-1989; EFAF A-Group 2005-2010; EFAF B-Group 2004-2009; EFAF C-Group 2003-2007;

The first American Football European Championships were held in 1983, at Vince Lombardi Stadium, Castelgiorgio, Italy. Italy beat Finland 18-6 in the Final.

European Championships

EFAF EC A-Group (Editions): 2010 2005

EFL EC (Editions): 1993 1989 1987

AFEF EC (Editions): 1983

European Championships B-C Groups & Qualification

EFAF EC B-Group (Editions): 2009 2004

EFAF EC C-Group (Editions): 2007 2003

EFL EC-Qualification (Editions): 1989

European Junior Championships

EFAF EJC (Editions): 1998

EFAF EJC-Qualification (Editions): 1998

European Rankings

AFI European Nations Top 22 (end-of-year Rankings): 2019

EFAF AMPRO European Top 20 (end-of-season Rankings): 1995

Picture Credit: [1] American Football International (2013) EFAF Logo [Internet] Available from: [Accessed 30 August 2017]

International Friendlies

European International Friendlies

International Friendlies

Slovakia International American Football Matches 2010-Present

International American Football USSR 1989

Minsk Bison Tours of USA 1993-1994

Picture Credit: [3] American Football (Russia) (2017) History in Russia | Billboard Advertising First College Game in Russia 1989 [Internet] Available from:×600.jpg%5BAccessed 24 December 2017]

European Football Leagues (AAA)

After the US Air Force & Army Leagues, the National Football League set about promoting the NFL in Europe. In 1970 the film M*A*S*H saw the first mainstream exposure of American Football in Europe with its climactic Football game at the end. Immediately following this there were expressions of interest from Europeans about setting up a League, and what followed was the Intercontinental Football League, which was to feature 6 teams, including the Rome Gladiators, owned by Bruno Beneck, the director of the most popular TV Sports Show in Italy, who had successfully introduced Baseball 20 years earlier. The League never got off the ground due to the oil crisis and the spectre of Terrorism, but the IFL continued to promote the game, playing a game in 1972 in Paris featuring NFL players, as well as bringing College teams and Semi-Pro Teams from 1976-1978 to play a best-of-5 European Championship.

TV stations started showing American Football in the late-1970s and early 1980s and the first Leagues sprang up, including the Rome Gladiators in Bruno Beneck’s Italy. By 1986 the National Football League had begun to play Pre-Season games in London, Barcelona, Berlin and Dublin. The European audiences soon wanted more so the World League of American Football, featuring 3 European teams, 6 American and one Canadian, was started in 1991. It lasted two seasons before being shelved by the NFL due to the lack of interest from American fans in a Development League. The American Football League of Europe, which ran from 1994-1995 filled in the gap in Pro Football, with its mix of start-up teams and teams from the European National Leagues bolstered by American imports.

The World League returned in 1995 as a 6-team Europe-only League and was renamed the NFL Europe League in 1998. After initial success, attendances dwindled – the fans wanted an NFL franchise – so in 2007 the NFL folded the League and focused on promoting the NFL in Europe through the NFL International Series – starting with one NFL Regular Season game a year played in London, growing to 4-per-year by 2020, with the stated intention of putting a team in London permanently by 2022.

Eurobowl and EFL (AAA Level 1 & AA Level 2)

Eurobowl; EFL

The first Eurobowl for European National Champions was played in 1986, governed by the European Football League. The organisation fell apart in 1992, following the expulsion of the United Kingdom, and was replaced by the European Federation of American Football which ran the Eurobowl until 2015 when the German Football League International took over running the sport for one year, being replaced in turn by the Europe Division of the International Federation of American Football, the World Governing Body.

Eurobowl Finals:

European Federation of American Football Europe Eurobowl 1986-Present

Eurobowl (Level 1):

International Federation of American Football Europe Big 6 Eurobowl 2015-present

EFAF Eurobowl: 1994 1993

EFL Eurobowl (Season Results):   1992 1991 1990 1989  1988 1986

European Football League (Level 2):

IFAF Europe EFL (Level 2):2016 2015

Picture Credit: [6] Wikipedia (2020) EuroBowl 86 Logo {Internet] Available from: [Accessed 5 April 2020]

Regional European Leagues (A Level 3)

Below the European Football League and Eurobowl Levels are Regional Football Leagues, namely West European, North European, East European and Central European Bowls.

Western Europe (A Level 3)

Four Nations Bowl; Charleroi Trophy; Atlantic Cup;

There has been Regional Tournaments in Western Europe since the Four Nations Bowl (England, Ireland, Scotland & Wales) in the 1990s and then the Charleroi Trophy (Belgium, Netherlands, Ireland) in the early 2000s. This was replaced by the Atlantic Cup in 2009, which ran until 2017 when the Belgian & Dutch Champions made the step up to European Football League Level.

Western European Club Championships (Level 3) (Overviews):

European Federation of American Football IFAF Europe Atlantic Cup Finals 2009-2017

European Federation of American Football Charleroi Trophy Finals 2002-2004

Atlantic Cup (Seasons):

 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 

Charleroi Trophy: (Seasons)  2004 2003 2002

Dutch International Tournament (Seasons): 1997 

Four Nations Bowl (Seasons): 1992

Western European Friendlies (Seasons): 1986

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Northern Europe (A Level 3)

EFL Scandinavian Cup; NEFL;

The Scandinavian Cup, played in the 1990s between the winners of the Swedish, Norwegian, Danish & Finnish Leagues, is the oldest of the Northern European Regional Tournaments. It has since been replaced by the Northern European Football League, featuring the British Champions too.

Nothern European Friendlies (Level 3): 1986

EFL Scandinavian Cup (Level 3): 1987 1988 1989 1993 1994 1995

IFAFE Northern European Football League (Level 3): 2017 2018

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Central Europe (A levels 3 & 4)

EFAF Challenge Cup; CEFL

Central European Competitions have included the Challenge Cup (EFAF Era) and more recently the Central European Football League. These competitons have pitted the Champions of – at times – Austria, Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Serbia, Croatia, Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey – against each other in two levels as it currently stands.

Central European Football League Bowl (A level 3): 2018

Central European Football League Cup (A- level 4) 2018

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National Leagues

The earliest National Leagues in Europe were the ones in Italy (1977), Germany (1979) and Finland (1979) and have since grown to include just about every Country in Europe.

EFAF National Bowl Games (Seasons): 1994 1995

British National Leagues

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Britain (BAFA)

Britain: Level 1:

British American Football Association Britbowl Finals 1985-Present

British American Football Merit League (Seasons): 1984

British American Football Association National Leagues Premiership (Seasons): 2019

Britain Level 2:

British American Football Non-Merit Table (Seasons): 1984

Britain Level 3:

BAFA National Leagues Southern Football Conference (Seasons): 2019

Britain: Level 5:

British Gridiron Football League 1987-1988

Britain: British Colleges & Universities Football:

British Collegiate American Football League 1985-1990

British Collegiate American Football League 1990-1994

Britain: Women’s

British American Football Association Women’s Sapphire Series Division 1 2017-2019

British: Youth Kitted

BYAFA YKL (Results): 1996 1993 1992 1991

BYAFA Youth Kitted Friendlies (Results): 1992

Picture Credit: [1] American Football International (2013) logo [Internet] Available from: [Accessed 30 August 2017]

English National Leagues

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National Passball League

National Passball League (Britannia) 1988-1993

National Passball League (Seasons): 1988 1991 1992 1993

English Regional Leagues

North England: Yorkshire Rose Winter League (Seasons): 1993

North England Friendlies (Seasons): 1994

Midlands: West Bromwich Sevens Tournament (Seasons): 1993

Home Counties: Home Counties Friendlies (Seasons): 1993

South England: Christine Crawley Charity Cup (Seasons): 1993

West Country: Oxford Passball Tournament (Seasons): 1993

English Senior Flag Football

English Senior Flag League 9v9 Senior Championship 2003-2005

British Senior Flag League 9v9 Senior Championship 1998-2002

English Junior Flag Football

National Flag Football Association Youth League (Seasons): 1998

Junior Gridiron League Youth League (14-18 y.o.) (Seasons): 1997 1995 1994

Youth Flag Football (South East England) (Seasons): 1993

Junior Gridiron League Junior League (9-15 yo) (Seasons): 1995

English Youth Two Touch Football

Junior American Football League (Britain) 1988

Junior Gridiron League Youth Two Touch League (South England) (Seasons): 1993

Junior Gridiron League Junior Two Touch League (South Britain) (Seasons): 1993

Northern Junior Gridiron League Two Touch (North England) (Seasons): 1993 1994

Picture Credit: [1] American Football International (2013) logo [Internet] Available from: [Accessed 30 August 2017]

Celtic National Leagues

Scotland (SGA); Wales (NWWCAFL); Brittany (Conf’Ouest); Galicia

Ireland (AFI):

As this is an Irish Sports Archive there is much more on American Football Ireland covered, so Ireland has its own page at: American Football Ireland

Scotland (SGA)

Scottish American Football Leagues

Caledonian Thistle American Football League 1987-1988

Scottish Gridiron Association Bowl Finals 1995-1998

Scottish American Football Capital Bowl 1986-1990

Capital Bowl (Seasons): 1990 1989

Scottish Flag Football Leagues

Scottish Flag Football Friendlies 1993-94

Scottish Flag Football Association Senior 2003-2007


North West & Welsh Counties American Football League 1987

Wales Friendlies (Seasons): 1993

Brittany (Conf’Ouest)

Conference Ouest (Brittany American Football) 1997-2005

Galicia (AGFA)

Liga Gallega de Futbol Americano (Galicia) 2012-2016

Picture Credit: [11] Conference Ouest | Wayback Machine (2001) Conference Ouest Map [Internet] Available from: [Accessed 18 April 2020]

Scandinavian National Leagues

Finland (SAJL); Denmark (DAFF); Norway (NAFF); Iceland.

Sweden (SAFF)

Sweriges Amerikanska FotbollForbund (SAFF)

SAFF Superserien (Standings):

Sveriges Amerikanska FotbollForbund Superserien (SAFF Sweden Superseries) 1997-1999

Finland (SAJL):

Finnish American Football Federation Bowls(Overviews):

Finnish American Football Federation Maple Bowls 1980-Present

Finnish American Football Association Men’s League (Seasons): 2020 2018 1980

Denmark (DAFF):

Dansk Amerikansk Fodbold Forbund (Denmark) Mermaid Bowl 1988-Present

Norway (NAFF)

Norwegian American Football Federation 1st Division 1991-2000


Icelandic American Football (Reykjavik Einherjar) 2016-2019

Reykjavik Einherjar (Seasons): 2018-19 2017-18 2016-17

Picture Credit: [1] SAJL (2018) SAJL Logo [Internet] Available from: [Accessed 19 August 2018]

North European National Leagues

Germany (AfvD); Austria (FA; AFBOe); Switzerland (SAFV); Benelux (Big Five); Netherlands (AFBN): Belgium (BAFL): Flanders (FAFL)

Germany (AfvD)

AFVD American Football Verband Deutschland German Bowl 1979-Present

German Football League (Seasons): 1993

Austria (FA, AFBOe)

Football Austrian (AFBOe) Austrian Bowl 1984-Present

Switzerland (SAFV):

SAFV Swiss American Football Federation Nationalliga A 1986-1990

Benelux (Big Five)

Benelux Big Five Division (seasons): 1999

Belgium (BAFL):

Belgian American Football League | Elite Division 2017

Flanders (FAFL)

Flemish American Football League | Division II 2016

Netherlands (AFBN)

AFBN Eredivie (Seasons): 2018

Queens Football League Queens Bowl (Finals):

Queens Football League (Netherlands) Queens Bowl 2017-Present

Picture Credit: Manuel Findeis / (2018) MUNICH, BAVARIA, GERMANY – MARCH 11, 2018: close up on running kids in American football clothes representing the Munich Rangers at the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. [Accessed 4 May 2021]

Southern European National Leagues

Italy (FIAF); France (FFFA); Spain (FEFA); Portugal (FPFA); Catalonia (CLAF)

Italy (FIFA)

FIAF Federazione Italiana American Football Golden League 1998-2000

Federazione Italiana American Football FIAF Winter League Snowbowl 1992-2002

Lega Italiana Football Americano 1980-1981

Federazione Italiana Football Americano 1977

France (FFFA)

France: (FFFA):

FFFA French American Football Federation Division 1 2000-2010

Spain (FEFA)

Federacion Espanola de Futbol Americano LNFA Serie A Finals 1995-Present

Federation Espana de Football Americano LNFA Series (Spain) A 2017-2018

Portugal (FPFA):

Liga Portuguesa de Futebol Americano (Seasons): 2020

Campeonato Nacional (Seasons): 2019

Catalonia (CLAF)

Catalan League of American Football (Seasons): 1995

Picture Credit: [1] FIAF | Wayback Machine (1998) scudo [Internet] Available from: [Accessed 3 August 2018]


Central & East European National Leagues

Poland (PLAF); Slovakia (SAAF)

Russia (FAFR)

FAFR Federation of American Football of Russia League of American Football 2016-2018

Ukraine (ULAF)

ULAF (Results): 1999

Poland (PLAF):

Polish League of American Football 2006-2010

Czech Republic (CAAF)

CAAF Ceska Asociace Americkaho Fotbalu (Czech Republic) 1994-1999

Slovakia (SAAF)

Slovak Football League Champions 2010-2017

Slovak Football League (Seasons): 2017

Alpe Adria (AAFL)

AAFL Alpe Adria Football League

Alpe Adria Football League 2013-2015

Slovenia (ZANS)

ZANS Zveza za Ameriski Nogomet Slovenije

ZANS Zveza va Ameriski Nogomet Slovenije (Slovenia American Football League) 1. Liga 2010-2013

Serbia (SAFS)


SAFSrbija (Serbian American Football League) 2004-2006

Picture Credit: [1] CAAF (2021) nejnovejsi [Internet] Available from: [Accessed 11 April 2021]