The International Floorball Federation is a worldwide organization working to develop the sport of Floorball around the world. They act as the governing body to the sport. One very large component of the organization is the World Floorball Championship series. The WFC is split into Men, Women, U19 Men, and U19 Women tournaments. In conjunction with those tournaments they also work with countries to hose qualifying tournaments for the WFC. This process has been an overall success when setting the stage for the WFC tournaments.
While this process works for setting up a tournament it does have some flaws, not in the operation of the tournament but in the lack of opportunity for developing countries to gain more experience. If you look at the overall history of the WFC you’ll likely see the same countries competing. That’s not a fault of those countries, but in places like Sweden, Switzerland, and Finland for instance, they are much more developed in the sport. When you look at developing countries they tend to only get together to compete a handful of times at most to prepare for the qualifiers. If you’re in North America for instance you have even less opportunity to compete because it’s still growing. If you miss out on qualifying for the WFC you’ll lose out on valuable experience playing at the WFC.
I think for the betterment of the sport this needs to change or evolve to give more countries a chance to compete, but also more experience. If you know NCAA basketball you should know about the March Madness Tournament. What you might not know is the other tournament happening at that time called the NIT. If you didn’t qualify for March Madness, you can be invited to the NIT. While the NIT would currently be considered the lesser of the two it still plays a pivotal role college basketball from sponsorship, TV ratings, ad space, and overall competition. This does a few things and they are all important to the growth of the sport.
If Floorball had this process teams that didn’t qualify for the WFC would still have the chance to play in an international competition to gain experience and play countries they likely wouldn’t get a chance to play otherwise. This allows more connection between countries and players, but also helps shine a light on developing countries. What you would likely see are less blow outs and closer overall games. As a spectator close competitive games are fun to watch and build an excitement for the sport.
It takes a lot to put any event on, but even more so to do so on an international level. I think it’s a big task to do, but in the end I think the positives outweigh the negatives on this model. From a business model it opens the door for more opportunities to engage a broader audience for viewership and business engagement through ads and sponsorship. It’s certainly something that would bring a lot of value to sport as it grows and needs to figure out ways to engage countries left out of competing at the WFC.