NAL and CIF merge to form new indoor football league

NAL and CIF merge to form new indoor football league
NAL and CIF announce merger (Source: Dave Platta / WTVM)

COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - The indoor football world is getting a makeover, and the Columbus Lions are right in the middle of it.

The National Arena League and Champions Indoor Football are forming a partnership beginning with the upcoming 2020 season that will effectively create a 12-team league under a name to be announced.

The two leagues will retain their identity as conferences under the new structure, scheduling crossover games and creating a championship game between the conference champions.

There will be rules changes, including one that takes some of the shackles off defenses and will mean an increased emphasis on the run game instead of the pure passing attack that has been used in the National Arena League.

For Lions fans, the biggest change of all will be the number of different teams that come to the Columbus Civic Center to play the Lions.

“We’ve got great teams in the league with Orlando, Jacksonville, and Carolina,” said Lions general manager and head coach Jason Gibson. “We’re going to see those teams and see those rivalries, but you’ll have out of conference games against storied programs like the Omaha Beef and the Sioux City Bandits, teams that have been around 18-19-20 years.”

The two leagues say additional details about the transition will be announced in the coming weeks.

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