Originally scheduled for a mid September 2015 start, the Chinese Arena Football League (CAFL) has moved it inaugural season to 2016.
According to a press release from the CAFL website:
“In order to lay a solid foundation for the launch of the China Arena Football League (CAFL), the China Rugby Football Association (CRFA), in concert with the China Sports Ministry and the CAFL have agreed that the inaugural CAFL season begin in the Autumn of 2016.”
The explanation for the move seems to come from place of cooperation, as the creators of the league must work within the confines and infrastructure of China’s often nebulous governmental bureaucracy.
Further on in the release the league explains that it “has spent 3 years working in tandem with the CRFA and other critical government agencies in order to gain approval for the first-ever American style professional football league in China, and will adhere to their sequential recommendations.”
The CAFL’s founder Marty Judge, an American businessman and co-owner of the Arena Football League‘s Philadelphia Soul, stated;
“By kicking off our new professional league in 2016, we will be able to further develop our China-based player prospects, who will continue to work through our on-going training and tryout camps, as well as to further develop a strong fan base for the debut.”
The CAFL will be staging a professional exhibition game in a major Chinese city featuring foreign and Chinese players who have registered with the CRFA. Foreign coaching candidates will also be selected to lead each team.
The current projection for this exhibition game is for early 2016. It is anticipated that the promotion and exposure of the sport through the exhibition game will increase national awareness of the new sport of arena-style American football, and lead to the formal debut of the CAFL professional league later in 2016.