Until 2017, there were no American football fields in Israel other than Kraft Family Stadium, which was only 80-yards long and narrower than a regulation field. That changed when the Kraft Family Sports Campus opened in Jerusalem in June 2017, thanks to the generosity of philanthropist and New England Patriots owner Mr. Robert Kraft and the Kraft Family. The Kraft Family Sports Campus includes multiple sports fields, including Israel’s first regulation size American football field which now serves as the site for the Israel Bowl, as well as homefield for the Israeli National Team and the Jerusalem Lions.
For over two decades New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft has partnered with American Football in Israel. Beginning in 1999, the Kraft Family Foundation sponsored the building of the Kraft Family Stadium in Jerusalem. That was the beginning of a relationship that includes the creation of the Kraft Family Sports Campus that is the venue of the 2021 Flag Football World Championship. The Kraft Family are the lead sponsors of the 2021 FFWC.
Robert’s late wife Myra Kraft z”l directly inspired the creation of the Israeli women’s flag football national team and the women’s flag league, WAFI.
For more than a decade the Kraft Family have been the name sponsors of the tackle football leagues in Israel. The Kraft Family IFL and the Kraft Family IHFL has grown to include teams from all over the country. The Kraft family are lead sponsors for the national tackle team and its recent European campaign.
In recent years Mr. Kraft led three special football missions to Israel called Touchdown Israel I, II and III. The first two missions included nearly 40 legends from the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The 3rd mission consisted of 18 retired and current players from the Patriots.
Letter to the Participants:
Dear Flag Football World Championship Participants:
Congratulations! There are few things more enjoyable and rewarding than competing for a championship. Especially when you are a part of a team. Your experiences together this weekend will bond you and your teammates forever and the memories created will last a lifetime.
I have championed the importance of building bridges and bringing people together my entire life and have always found that team sports, especially football, unite diverse populations of people. It is true both within a team and in the communities that support them.
It is an honor to host the Flag Football World Championship weekend at the Kraft Family Sports Campus in Jerusalem. It was our hope and dream that these facilities would be used to advance the game of football across Europe and the Middle East. Your participation in this championship weekend is a realization of that dream.
Congratulations, once again, on competing for a championship. I wish you the best of luck this weekend and in all your future football endeavors. Thank you for being great ambassadors for the game. Your time, effort and dedication to the sport is creating opportunities and paving a path for others to follow. In that regard, you are already champions in my view.
Enjoy the competition and have a great time.
With warm regards,
Robert K. Kraft