Martin E. Judge, Jr. dream of owning the first professional American arena football league in China came into fruition when the Chinese government awarded his company the rights to bring an arena league to China in 2011.
The CAFL was the brainchild of Martin E. Judge, the founder and CEO of a Philadelphia-based professional services company. He is a part-owner of the Philadelphia Soul of the U.S.-based Arena Football League, and in 2012, he partnered with ESPN analyst and former NFL quarterback Ron Jaworski, also part-owner of the Soul.
“We think the acronym CAFL says it all. The league, and all of our efforts, are unique to China. We want to highlight the fact that we are playing American-style arena football, not to be confused with soccer. And we want to emphasize that this is China’s first ever professional league, played by the best players in the world,” says Judge in an interview with Georgia Asian Times at the Symposium of Asia-USA Partnership (SAUPO) Conference in Atlanta.
Many of the rosters will feature Chinese players, who have been learning and training for the arena game specifically for over a year, at six select Chinese universities around China. Each professional team is comprised of a total of 22 players, 11 Chinese and 11 foreign players mostly Americans, according to Judge.
CAFL headquarters are located in Beijing, with leadership comprised of senior media executives and sports professionals with an array of government and commercial experience.
Edward Wang, a U.S. born son of Chinese parents, was appointed President of the CAFL last year after serving a Director of Personnel. Wang rocketed to fame and popularity as the first full-blooded Chinese NFL player with the Buffalo Bills, Oakland Raiders and Philadelphia Eagles, after an all-star collegiate career at Virginia Tech University.
“This is a dream opportunity for me, as well as my family,” said Wang who begin the task of developing future star players and operations for the CAFL.
The CAFL plays its seasons each year during the months of September through October. The 2017 season will comprised of its six teams, Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Qingdao, Wuhan and Shenyang.
Judge and Wang were in town to speak at the SAUPO conference and to recruit potential investors to the CAFL. They offer investors the opportunity to own individual franchises or to become a stakeholder in the league itself.
“This is one of the most exciting periods in my life,” said Judge in his presentation. “In China all sports leagues are owned in part by the government. Mine is the only league that is owned 100 percent by an individual and I’m selling it to Chinese investors and the government sponsors it, they don’t own it. They love what I’ve done,” he added.
To learn more of Chinese Arena Football League, visit www.caflfootball.com