The leadership dispute dates back to Sweden's withdrawal from hosting the 2015 World Championships ©Facebook/International Federation of American Football (IFAF)

The International Federation of American Football (IFAF) have advised their members not to attend an Extraordinary Meeting called by a rival group as a dispute over the governing body’s leadership continues.

Tensions within the IFAF have simmered since Sweden pulled out of hosting the 2015 World Championships in December 2014, with the then President Tommy Wiking taking a leave of absence the following month for health reasons.

IFAF’s Executive Board announced in April that they had accepted the Swedish official’s resignation from the post, a claim denied by Wiking, with IFAF senior vice-president Mac Kaneuji serving as the organisation’s acting head.

During the course of the rearranged World Championships, which took place in Ohio last year, the governing body convened their 2015 Congress, with Finland’s Roope Noronen claimed to have been elected as President following a unanimous vote.

Noronen was stated to serve until the 2016 Congress where a President would be elected on a four-year term, while Sweden’s Minette Rogner was confirmed as the IFAF secretary.

A twitter account titled @IFAFOfficial made the claim, however, that at the Congress that Wiking remained as the President of the organisation, while the 2016 Congress would be held in Paris.

Tweets from the IFAF account had claimed Tommy Wiking remained President and the Congress would be held in Paris, which the IFAF deny
Tweets from the IFAF account had claimed Tommy Wiking remained President and the Congress would be held in Paris, which the IFAF deny ©Twitter

In a statement, Noronen attempted to clarify the situation and advised members not to attend a meeting which they had been requested to attend in Paris, this March.

“We do not recognise the authenticity of any other meeting held in Canton, be it in the hotel lobby or elsewhere, claiming to be a legitimate Congress,” Noronen said.

“As a consequence of this, we do not recognise the Extraordinary Meeting of IFAF called for Paris in March, member nations are advised not to attend.

“Despite the statement that the meeting has been called by the Executive Board, it should be noted that representatives from Continental Federations and Athlete Representatives did not take part in any decision making.

“Indeed, despite claims from Mr Wiking and his group that Mr Kaneuji is the senior vice-president on their Presidium, Mr Kaneuji does not recognse their authenticity and he does not take part in any of their meetings.”

Noronen also detailed that he would write to Member Federations in the coming days to set out a timetable and framework for the 2016 Congress.

He also acknowledged that the IFAF are currently not  in control of their bank account and several media accounts, claiming the governing body were working with their lawyers in an attempt to repatriate their assets.

Following the admission, Noronen revealed the IFAF would not be requesting membership fees in the short term, while teams looking to participate in Championships would receive advice on the banking arrangements.