After a success that was last year, the 2007 SELAF season will mark the beginning of major changes in league format. Firstly, the League has expanded to six teams, adding two new countries to SELAF in the process, and secondly the teams have been divided into two conferences, North and South.
Two new teams, Gladiators and Wolves, with one old – Ljubljana, will now form North, while the Serbian teams will anchor South. It was originally planned that the conferences would be called East and West, but the League settled on North and South in the end.
In all, four of five teams from last year’s lineup return to the league this year. Unlike last year, the teams will play seven regular season games, one less than in 2006, but the postseason has been expanded and will include semi-finals, so the number of matches for teams that reach the finals will remain nine.
Teams will play their conference opponents twice, and once against opponents from a different conference. Since there is an odd number of teams in each conference, this year teams from North will play two away games and one at home.
Top two in each conference will qualify for the postseason which will start on the second weekend of October – 13/14 of October, and the winners will advance to the second SELAF Bowl, scheduled for October 27/28. The city that will host the Bowl has not yet been selected, but in case Kragujevac makes it to the biggest game of the year they will have the honor, as reigning champions, of hosting it.
This year will kickoff in Kragujevac on the 1st of April when the Wild Boars will host the Novi Sad Dukes, the only team that was able to beat them in 2006.
The early favorites are no doubt the newcomers, the Austrian Gladiators and the Hungarian Wolves. The first time that we’ll see which one of those two is better will be on the 19/20th of May when they will meet in Budapest. Other noteworthy games include the first inter-conference match between Ljubljana and Kragujevac in Slovenia, and of course, the biggest Serbian derby between Belgrade and Kragujevac in the first weekend of May in Belgrade.
Like last year, SELAF will have a break in June, and will continue again in September.
There have also been several procedural changes. The most important of these include that quarters during games will last 12 minutes, and that a player is now eligible for postseason play only if was on the roster for two games during the regular season. The exception is in case of injuries; then players are eligible regardless of that rule. Also, teams can register up to 53 players during the season, 45 of which are active for the game.