Review Assembly of Delegates
The delegates of the 44 member clubs of the Swiss American Football Federation met in person on Saturday, December 12, 2022 in Ittigen for our 40th General Assembly.
We have much to be thankful for, with a significant increase in categories (juniors, flag, women) and member clubs over the four years since the last major change in board leadership. During the tenure of Claudio Spescha, we have become a fully recognised member of Youth & Sports (J&S) which allows our member clubs to benefit from additional financing streams and government subsidies. We also moved away from a volunteer driven model, hiring multiple employees to ensure smooth football operations over the past several years. This has put us on the path to aligning the federation with the best practices of bigger, more established Swiss sports federations, with a focus on offering the smoothest possible experience to our members while reducing the risk of operational disruption.
These positives however, were overshadowed by a difficult financial situation, complicating the further potential development of American football in Switzerland.
After the opening messages and the usual agenda items that are part of every delegates› meeting, Marcel Horber, who took over our finances last year during a difficult period, had the thankless task of presenting the annual accounts to the members, which closed with a minus of 41,647.82 CHF and thus clearly missed the budgeted zero.
The delegates were shown where the federation had gone over budget, and which factors had led to the deviations. The board was discharged by a large majority with the clear order to improve the process in order to minimize such deviations in the future.
Our sport continues to grow and the delegates approved the admission of the La Chaux-de-Fonds Hornets, who are expected to compete in the HARWY NFFL C starting in the 2023 season. This is our 45th member association and we are very happy to welcome them to our Federation!
After intense debates around the budget and finances, the election of the board took place. The board offered to continue its core mission of ensuring the continued growth and development of American football in Switzerland while doing a deep dive into its financial situation. In this context, the members unanimously re-elected all six board members for another year of service.
The board continues to be composed as follows:
Claudio Spescha, President
Andres Trautmann, Vice-President
Marcel Horber, Finances
Michel Strähl, Tackle Football
Fabio Gervasi, Flag Football
Gleb Iatsenia, Marketing & Communication
Our regulations governing youth development are several years old and have been put to the test during the past two pandemic years.
Last minute withdrawals of junior teams and problems to fill the upper leagues due to lack of players, led to the consideration of various changes in the run-up to the general assembly of delegates. Is a relaxation or a tightening of the regulations or even an increase of the penalties the right way to stabilize youth promotion? Such questions were discussed in the run-up to the meeting and also again last Saturday.
After debate, it was decided to maintain the obligation to have a junior team for every club in our Men’s Tackle B league, but to give teams more time to fulfill this obligation. In parallel, the automatic relegation rules for U19 tackle teams in cases of forfeits have been slightly relaxed.
With the final motions put forward for vote, the promotion of the Langenthal Invaders and the Schaffhausen Sharks to League B was confirmed by the delegates. We would like to congratulate them on this accomplishment which is the fruit of years of efforts on and off the field!
After a difficult year-end, the board was eager to present at least a balanced budget and not to repeat the mistakes from the previous year. The share of personnel costs has increased to more than 60% of the total costs since 2020 due to the creation of paid employee positions (the “office”) and an increase in referee compensation, which is meant to retain existing officials and help attract new ones. This percentage of costs was considered to be too high by the delegates. Furthermore, the cuts in the budget for our National Teams, Medals and Cups were not supported, and after lengthy discussions the budget was rejected. The board has now decided to restart the budget process with the help of a finance commission which includes representatives from our clubs and to present a new budget to the delegates as soon as possible.