Japan's NFA becomes 11th international organization to form partnership with CFL

The Canadian Press

TORONTO — Japan became the 11th country to become partners with the CFL and its 2.0 initiative Monday.

The league had reached similar agreements with football organizations in Austria, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Norway, Sweden and Great Britain.

"We are proud to join our friends in the CFL in a partnership designed to strengthen our game here in Japan, Canada and, ultimately, around the world," Riichiro Fukahori, commissioner of Japan's National Football Association (NFA), said in a statement.

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According to the CFL, there are currently 442 teams throughout Japan registered with the country's national association. That includes 206 college teams and 111 high school squads.

The country's top tier is the X-League, which consists of 53 teams. Its players are amateurs and belong to either club teams, which are supported by sponsors, or company squads that are owned and operated by a business whose employees are also players.

"We welcome Japan, one of the great sporting nations in the world and a country that has been playing gridiron football for decades," said CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie. "We have agreed to work together to grow the great game of gridiron football in our two countries.

"And with this partnership comes an opportunity to work with others around the world who share our vision and goals."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 4, 2019.

The Canadian Press

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