Trochet mentioned the IFAF Women's World Championship as one of the highlights of the year at the online Board meeting ©IFAF/Jari Turunen

Continental representatives from Argentina, Austria, Kenya, South Korea and New Zealand were welcomed at the International Federation of American Football's (IFAF) first Board meeting following the election of new members at its Congress in July.

The meeting was held online and coincided with the start of the new American football season, described by IFAF President Pierre Trochet as "defining" for the global future of the sport.

"As a global American football family, we are entering this season with unprecedented momentum," said Trochet.

"The months ahead could be game-changing for our sport around the world.

"As IFAF, it's crucial that we remain relentlessly focused on the core functions of governance.

"We will only succeed by demanding excellence across each area of our day-to-day work: development, commercial, athlete welfare, anti-doping, sustainability.

"I call on every member of the Board to play their part."

Trochet also provided updates from a summer of development including the debut of flag football at the Birmingham 2022 World Games, the selection of Lahti in Finland as the 2024 Flag Football World Championships host and the recent IFAF Women's World Championship in Vantaa.

IFAF's use of wood for the Women's World Championship medals is in line with its aim to be environmentally friendly ©IFAF/Jari Turunen
IFAF's use of wood for the Women's World Championship medals is in line with its aim to be environmentally friendly ©IFAF/Jari Turunen

In addition, Trochet outlined some of the key programmes of work under Vision28 - the global strategy established with the National Football League.

Through Vision28, IFAF aims to increase its operational capacity and spearhead a global education and training programme to support the continued rapid growth of the sport worldwide.

The Board then heard about efforts to broaden participation through wheelchair football.

IFAF managing director Andy Fuller outlined steps taken to establish a wheelchair football steering group, drawing together key stakeholders and experts from around the world.

A preliminary meeting focused on areas including standardisation of rules, coach and referee education and competition pathways.

Trochet closed the meeting by paying tribute to Alessia Di Gianfrancesco, who has played a key role in shaping IFAF's anti-doping programmes and is now stepping down to focus on her role as director general of the Italian National Anti-Doping Organisation.