The Voice of the Locker Room
The ELF (European League of Football) is set to launch in the summer of 2021. The 1st professional football league in Europe since 2007 (NFL Europe). We caught up with some players and coaches to get their thoughts and reaction on the idea of the ELF.
"I hope they're honest to the players, a lot of the guys are thinking everyone is getting paid big money. And if the players still don’t get paid how they want, to make sure everyone can travel to Europe every weekend like the plan is." - Sebastian Fandert
"When I first heard the news of ELF, I was excited to hear that there would be a, hopefully, more competitive league with no obvious underdogs game in and game out. The way the GFL is set up now doesn’t make for entertaining games not until playoffs anyway. Also, the GFL import rules have sullied the league because of loopholes concerning European relatives. I am excited as heck to possibly have an opportunity to play or coach in the ELF. As of now, the possibilities remain endless! Patrick Eusume has been around long enough to know what great European football should look like." - Pat Donahue
"As an idea, I think it's definitely the way to go. I don't see football taking any steps forward if we keep the current format. There is talent all over Europe so to make a league with teams from different nations will make the quality better. Finland is a prime example; there won't be enough talent that people could enjoy good quality football. You can see the same in Germany [a league] that is regarded as the best league, meanwhile, [there are] ridiculous blowouts every week, no surprises really. I understand all the difficulties that come with making this league and I feel the national leagues worry, but they need to see a bigger picture and that is, there won't be quality football until the best teams play against each other in the same league. I feel like if it's done right there can be good quality international football in Europe while still saving the national leagues. I'm all for this league but it needs to be done right." - Sebastien Sagne
"Overall I think it’s a great idea; it’s something that I think a lot of people have wanted to see, a professional European league where top teams from all over Europe play each other. It has a lot of potential, and with the possible contracts, it’s just the icing on the cake." - Deante battle
“Hearing the news of a professional football returning to Europe was exciting. Having played overseas, I think it has upside. However, to my knowledge, there have been attempts to build leagues in the past but those have been unsuccessful. I am interested to see how this will be different.” – Jamal Clay, Athletes Forum
"I welcome it. To be honest, Europe needs a shakeup There are so many associations that are stuck in their ways. While they are doing lots of great work, they spin their wheels managing and solving petty things, rather than really thinking, "How do we take the game to the next level in every way?" So shake it up, maybe it will help some people think differently." - Anonymous Coach
“This could be a great opportunity for homegrown talent to make an impact. If done right, this could be the new face of American Football in Europe in a couple of years.” - Tommy Kaczocha
"From a player's point of view, I see a big chance in the ELF. I like the salary cap and the clear import rule (4 A's, 8 European's). With the announced budget of 1.5 million for each team, every team can afford to have the same amount of Imports; this will bring a competitive balance. [This is] what is vital to make Football more attractive to fans.
Another point I like about this new league is the National TV Deals and the focus on filling stadiums up to 20,000-30,000
I think, especially, for teams outside of Germany, this league will be a big chance. Teams like Wroclaw do not have competition in their own league, the same thing for teams like Amsterdam Crusaders, Milano Seamen, Badalona Dracs etc. Most of these teams are unbeaten for years in their own national leagues.
The ELF could be a league [in which] to bring all these teams together in the future." - Niko
"[My] first reaction was this could be outstanding for football in all of Europe. However, I have some doubts about if this can get put together, up and running by June, and be sustainable financially. I feel football in Europe has one shot at this, so, if this fails, it could set everything back years. But, IF it does works, it will be a great thing for football in Europe." - Anonymous Player
"It is interesting for sure, but as I read about it, I have more questions than there are answers out there. How will it be pro? How can teams manage it financially? Is it ignoring youth development? How will it involve or encourage associations via countries or will it just compete with them? So many questions. There are lots of associations out there [that are] trying very hard and doing great things, ignoring them would not help the game." - Zach Harrod
"I think the ELF is a great opportunity for American football to be unified across Europe. Not that other leagues haven't [done this], but I think the ELF gives athletes and coaches in Europe the chance to aspire to be more than amateur within the sport. There are already tons of talented athletes and coaches spread throughout various countries in Europe. Now, imagine how much better the talent could be if those same football fanatics had a chance to be around the game more and be in a professional manner."- Kaleb leach, Europes Elite