Last September with the Toledo skyline in the background, a large group of Italian Bowl organizers and partners – including Italian Federation of American Football (FIDAF) Deputy Vice President Fabio Tortosa, and FIDAF Board Member and General Manager of the reigning Italian champions Guelfi Firenze Edoardo Cammi) – announced the 42nd Italian Bowl is coming to Toledo’s Glass Bowl Stadium on Saturday, July 1, 2023. The game will mark the first time in Italian Football League (IFL) history that Italy’s national championship will be played outside of Europe.
The first official Italian Football Season dates back to 1980, more than 40 years ago. CONI (the Italian National Olympic Committee) entrusted The Italian Federation of American Football (FIDAF) with the official mandate to promote football in Italy and regulate the legitimacy of all games played during the regular season, playoffs, and finals. Nowadays, FIDAF has about 100 affiliated teams counting more than 10,000 male and female athletes who compete in tackle and flag football leagues within a spectrum of various age brackets (youth and senior championships).
In over forty years, 11 teams have won at least one title. The past ten years' Roll of Honor includes the four Italian titles won by the Milan Seamen (2014-2015-2017-2018-2019), the three titles of the Parma Panthers (2012-2013-2021), and last but not least, the Milan Rhinos' title (2016). In 2022, The Florence Guelfi won their first-ever Scudetto (Championship) after beating The Milan Seamen in the XLI Italian Bowl.
“With the organizational machine up and running, the chance to work side-by-side with experienced, dedicated professionals to hold the Italian Bowl in the birthplace of American football is an irresistible challenge and an exceptional opportunity for growth,” said Tortosa. “Taking the IFL final to Toledo in the U.S. where the game originated, has the hallmarks of an epic adventure for Italian American football. We are grateful to have this extraordinary opportunity for growth as it will positively impact the entire Federation as well as the two teams in the final. We have months of hard work ahead and can’t wait to roll up our sleeves and get on with the job at hand.”
The XLII Italian Bowl will be a key element of Toledo, Ohio’s Fourth of July weekend festivities in 2023. Organizers will facilitate shared experiences and collaboration between sister cities, Toledo and Ferrara, which were matched in November 2021, forming bonds and acting as a symbolic bridge between Toledoans and the people of Ferrara and beyond. For example, there will be multiple performances from international award-winning Italian opera singer and musician Mariam Battistelli.
Edoardo Cammi said, “The Federation hopes that this initiative can provide a driving force for everyone in the Italian youth movement: playing in America in front of the crowds we expect to see at the Glass Bowl is what any youngster in Italy who loves this sport dreams of doing. We hope that this dream can be as long-lasting as the bonds we are cementing with the City of Toledo today. “
Toledo Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz agreed, “The IFL final, and all that comes with it, will facilitate more exchanges and greater understanding between different cultures, further cooperation, and more positive interactions for thousands of people.”
The entire weekend will be packed with Italian-themed events including a Business Forum preceding the game on June 30th and a Toledo Night Market following the game on the evening of July 1st.
Tickets are on sale at www.italianbowlusa.com/tickets/. The cost is $15 for general admission and $30 for reserved seating at the University of Toledo’s Glass Bowl Stadium. For more information visit www.italianbowlusa.com.