As of January 1, 2017, the International Fistball Association (IFA) has as first global sports association its headquarters in Upper Austria, in the City of Linz. Numerous activities have been initiated last year with the goal to achieve IOC recognition. In February 2017, the first Oceania Championships took place between Australia and New Zealand, and in 2017 we will also see the start of the new IFA Fistball World Tour – a tournament series with incentives for club teams. Furthermore, with the appointment of Christoph Oberlehner as Administrative Director, IFA now has for the first time a full-time employee.
In 2015, the International Fistball Association (IFA) has started a process of rapid development and dissemination of fistball. As of today, the associaton includes more than 55 member countries. A significant element of this strategy is the IOC recognition process – in 2016, IFA submitted a proposal, and the feedback from the IOC was extremely positive. “Achieving IOC recognition will be an important milestone for fistball towards becoming an Olympic sport. In the next two to three years, the recognition could become a reality”, said IFA President Karl Weiß. “However, we still have a lot of work ahead, and the entire fistball family will need to continue making a joint effort.”
International Fistball Association Moves to Linz
As part of the sports continuous professionalization, the IFA has moved its headquarters to the capital of Upper Austria, Linz, where it shares offices with the Upper Austrian Fistball Association, and the Performance Center of the Austrian Fistball Association. “In Linz, we find optimal conditions, and an ideal environment and geographical location for our new headquarters. Furthermore, we will be able to utilize synergies due to the proximity to the Austrian and Upper Austrian associations, respectively“, said Karl Weiß with regards to the benefits of the new location at the ASKÖ Bewegungscenter Linz.
“Besides Germany, Brazil, Switzerland and Argentina, Austria is one of the best fistball nations worldwide, and Upper Austria is leading the way within the country due to its intensive engagement for youth, and professional structures. Due to their extraordinary commitment, the decision makers from the Upper Austrian fistball association and clubs have fostered the development of numerous top players who have formed the backbone of the Austrian national team over the years. Upper Austria is proud of Karl Weiß and his achievements as IFA President since 2011, and his accomplishment to bring the IFA headquarters to Upper Austria”, said Dr. Michael Strugl, minister for economy and sports in Upper Austria.
Development of National Teams and Clubs
Numerous member countries are excited about the ambitious goals and visions of IFA. “Recently, a new association was founded in Iran where, following several fistball workshops, fistball is now being played in 23 of the country’s 31 provinces. And, earlier this month, the first Oceania Championships took place between Australia and New Zealand”, stated IFA Secretary General Jörn Verleger with regards to the global development of fistball. In addition to the continous development of national teams, new activities are also being started for club teams – for example, the IFA Fistball World Tour which will be initiated in 2017. “The World Tour is a global series of fistball tournaments in various categories, through which club teams can secure wild cards for the World Tour Finals – the former World Cup. At the World Tour Finals, these wild card starters will be playing against the winners of the continental championships”, said Winfried Kronsteiner, chair of the IFA sports commission and initiator of the World Tour.
First Full-Time Employee for IFA
The new year also brought another milestone for the International Fistball Association. Due to the financial support of the Federal Ministry of Defense and Sport of Austria, and thanks to Sports Minister Hans-Peter Doskozil the IFA has for the first time a full-time employee – Christoph Oberlehner, a fistball player who is active for UFG Grieskirchen/Pötting, has joined the IFA team as Administrative Director. “I am very glad to be part of a dynamic and ambitious team. In particular, I am excited about the development opportunities of our sport, and I would like to contribute to accomplishing our goals and vision”, said Mr. Oberlehner. “The creation of a full-time position was a key goal, and I am very glad to welcome Christoph Oberlehner to our team”, stated IFA President Karl Weiß.
Mr. Oberlehner brings many years of professional experience in the sports business to the table. He served as marketing and sponsoring director of Austrian soccer Bundesliga team SV Ried, as well as for a soccer consulting firm in Munich. Furthermore, he has gained experience in several projects with FIFA, the German Bobsleigh and Tobogganing Federation, as well as member of the organizing team of the Fistball Euro 2016 in Grieskirchen.
Fistball Association of Iran held their first Technical Course in Hamadan. The participants were introduced to the regulations, rules, calendar and talent identification criteria by president Jasem Manouchehri. It was the next milestone for the sport of Fistball in Iran after the association’s General Assembly in late December 2016. IFA is very pleased to see the sport progressing in Iran.
We would like to report the Minutes of the Board Meeting to all interested persons.
1. Men ́s and Women ́s World Cups need a new modern structure starting in 2018 with qualifiers staring in 2017.
2. The quality of the events need improvement.
3. Continental cup holders shall continue to be directly qualified for the World Cups.
4. A World Cup Series is established to offer the opportunity to qualify for World Cup Final in a different way.
5. 8 teams shall participate in the event.
6. Women’s and men’s competitions should be carried out at the same time/venue on the basis of the same conditions.
7. The economic conditions for host/participants must be adopted.
Read the full document here
The year 2017 starts with a milestone for international Fistball. The state of Austria will provide a substantial financial subsidy to run the new IFA office in Linz (Austria). This gave us the opportunity to hire Mr. Christoph Oberlehner as full-time IFA Administrative Director starting from January 2017. With his experience in sport management and his contribution at the great Fistball EURO 2016 as marketing director, he can help our sport to reach the goals regarding IOC Recognition and international development.
The International Fistball Association is pleased to send you the best wishes for a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 2017!
Looking back to 2016 we hope you agree that this was a successful year for IFA with the highlights of the IFA 2016 Fistball U18 World Championships in Nuremberg, the IFA 2016 Fistball Men´s European Championships in Grieskirchen and the IFA 2016 Fistball Women´s World Championship in Curitiba.
On behalf of the IFA Board of Directors we would also like to take the opportunity to thank you for your efforts to promote fistball all around the world. #wearefistball
As valid from 1 October 2016 IFA published an updated list of IFA approved fistballs on its website. As new balls the “Unique F300” for men and the “Unique F301” for women and minors are accepted. Both balls are made of synthetic leather and playable as all-weather balls indoor and outdoor. The Theodor Drohnn-Ballfabrik Hubert Kurtz is based in Wolfenbüttel, Germany and also signed a contract as official ball partner including sponsoring rights. So fare IFA had only two approved manufacturers Sportastic and Ludwig which fulfilled the requirements.
Balls for international fistball matches and matches of the highest national leagues could only be used if they are “IFA approved”. A fistball is a hollow ball filled with air. Its basic colour is white, but up to 20 per cent of the surface can be made up of several smaller coloured pieces. The ball must be fully inflated and throughout the entire match the ball must satisfy e.g. the following requirements:
– weight 350 – 370 grammes (males) or 320 – 340 grammes (females)
– circumference 65 – 68 centimetres
– air pressure 0.55 – 0.70 bar