GB Lions Withdraw from European Junior Championship 2004

The following statement has been issued by the National Governing Body following the withdrawal from the European Junior Championships due to take place in August.

"BAFA has withdrawn the GB Lions Youth Team from the EFAF European Junior Championship including the qualifier against Italy due to be played in May. This decision has not been taken lightly and only after long and careful consideration.

Each of the appropriate BAFA Federations were consulted and asked for the views and opinions.The National Programme Director and Lions Youth Coaches also voiced their concerns regarding the format of the tournament. The concerns centered around the four games to be played in the space of eight days if the Lions had qualified for the final round to be played in Moscow this August.

It was felt that there was not sufficient time in between the games to allow for injuries to heal and to recovery from the games themselves. This problem would only be made more accute as the tournament progressed. BAFA had made EFAF aware of these concerns a few months ago but the answers to the points raised was not sufficient to address the concerns. Final details of the Moscow Tournament were given at the recent EFAF General Assembly in Paris. This showed no changes that would allow the GB Team to safely participate in the competition so it was felt that the only thing to do would be to withdraw from the qualifier to enable the Italians to make arrangements for the Moscow tournament.

BAFA is liable to face an EFAF fine for the withdrawl but a BAFA Board spokesman said that the safety of the players was paramount and taking current Child Protection issues into account, we could not ask Coaches to put themselves into a position where they would not be able to guarantee the continued safety of players in their care."