Graphic: Igor Lazarevic
The Austrian Federation of American Football, AFBÖ, has announced that the four team season that had been planned has now been reduced to two teams, the Dacia Vienna Vikings and Graz Giants.
Both the Swarco Raiders and Ssangyong Danube Dragons have decided to pull out of all plans to play a fall season as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Swarco Raiders president Elisabeth Swarovski cited health issues, the ongoing pandemic crisis and social responsibility as a sports club as some of the reasons for opting not to play in 2020.
“The club did not make the decision easy, weighed the pros and cons intensively and worked together with the AFBÖ on the possible realization of a league operation until the end. At the end of the day, however, there is a consensus among the majority of the Raiders that a league schedule could not be forced in this particular crisis situation. We have a great responsibility towards our members and fans and take it very seriously.”
According to the AFBÖ, the biggest hurdle are the quarantine regulations in Austria. Currently, clubs in the top leagues are not allowed to practice without testing and apparently the cost per test varies between 30 and 90 euros per test depending on where you located, Vienna or Innsbruck (Tyrol). Add to this the fact that an American football team including staff and crew requires the testing of upwards of 100 people and then testing becomes highly expensive and prohibitive.
As a result, there will be a five game, home and home series starting the first weekend in September between the Dacia Vienna Vikings and the Projekt Spielberg Graz Giants. The first game will take place in Graz, the next two in Vienna and then back to Graz.
Both teams had all players, coaches and coaches tested last week – and immediately started training after approval. Testing will be conducted again before the first game.