By Duncan Mackay

American footballMarch 9 - American football have been added by the International University Sports Federation (FISU) to its sports programme, with the first Championships being awarded to Uppsala in Sweden and due to take place next year.

The decision to add the sport to its portfolio of events was taken following discussions between FISU and International Federation of American Football (IFAF). 

It is the first step in the sport being added to the full Universiade programme. 

The inclusion of American football comes following discussions between the two parties at the SportAccord Convention and a thorough assessment of the sport by the FISU World University Championship (WUC) Department.

The sport will feature on the WUC programme with championship-style tournaments during the even-numbered years as it is a tradition for FISU's WUCs to alter with the Winter and Summer Universiades in the odd-numbered years.

Sweden's IFAF President Tommy Wiking presented his 64-member federation to the FISU Board during its three-day meeting in Brussels.

"We are dedicated to grow our sport within international university sport and will promote the World University Championship as a way to further develop youth football," he said.

IFAF President Tommy Wiking with FISU President Claude-Louis Gallien Brussels March 9 2013IFAF President Tommy Wiking with FISU President Claude-Louis Gallien after American football had been added to the FISU sport programme

With more than 65,000 players from 600 universities and colleges worldwide, the sport has an enormous potential for both federations to grow, officials claimed.

"We are looking forward to have American football as a FISU event," FISU President Claude-Louis Gallien said.

"American football is becoming more popular as a university sport worldwide.

"It makes sense to add it to our programme."

FISU's ruling Board decided to award the first World University American Football Championship for men and women to the Swedish National University Sport Federation, which will stage them in Uppsala, the country's fourth largest city, located 45 miles north of Stockholm.

Eight teams are expected to compete in both competitions.

"FISU and IFAF have been talking for some years now," said FISU chief executive Eric Saintrond.

"It is a great opportunity for both federations with an enormous participation potential."

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