Women out to tackle the world

Mon Jun 28, 2010 4:30am EDT
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By Frank Pingue

TORONTO (Reuters) - The pioneers of women's American football know that much is at stake this week as they showcase their sport at their first world championship.

Olympic recognition is the ultimate dream but organizers of the event in Sweden accept it is a long-term goal.

"If everything goes smooth and we are extremely successful I would still say that we are at least 15 years away, and that is if we are extremely successful," International Federation of American Football (IFAF) president Tommy Wiking told Reuters in a recent telephone interview.

"Even if (National Football League commissioner) Roger Goodell would call me tomorrow and say: 'I am going to give you all the money you need' it would still take me 15 years."

The IFAF has told the International Olympic Committee (IOC) it will apply for recognition as a body next year. If that was granted, it would block any other organization from putting itself forward as the federation for the sport.

With the sport gaining popularity, Wiking figured the time was right to give the women's game an opportunity to shine.

Hosts Sweden have been joined by the United States, Canada, Germany, Austria and Finland for the world championship, which was starting on Sunday. The gold-medal game is set for July 3.

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<p>The USA Football women&rsquo;s national team offensive line take part in a training camp practice in Round Rock, Texas, June 21, 2010. REUTERS/John C. Jacob/TSS Photography/Handout NO SALES. NO ARCHIVES. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS</p>