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Women's American football goes global in Sweden

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18:21 CEST+02:00
It is hard to avoid the football World Cup at the moment, but in one corner of Stockholm attention is focused not on round balls, but on oval balls. And they are not being kicked around by muscled Calvin Klein models, but by the world's best female American football players, who are competing in the first ever Women's World American Football Championship.

The competition is the brainchild of Tommy Wiking, a Swede and the President of the International Federation of American Football.

“I was tired of listening to all the poor excuses people were giving for not holding a women's world championships, so I thought it was time to do something about it,” he told The Local.

Six countries are competing in the first ever world championships, which kick off on Sunday at the Zinkensdamms IP Stadium in Stockholm.

According to the IFAF, two previous international women's American football games have been played, both between Sweden and Finland.

“The women's game is still in the early stages,” said Tommy Wiking, but added that it is increasing in popularity.

“In Sweden, men and women often play in the same team,” he said.

The USA, perhaps unsurprisingly, start the tournament as favourites. They take on Austria on Sunday, while hosts Sweden face number two seed Canada. Finland and Germany have their first games on Tuesday, against Austria and Sweden respectively.

Wiking said he didn't expect large crowds at the tournament:

“We're not expecting lots of people, but the important thing is that we make a start,” he said.

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