Contributed by: Aaron Richard
Catalan Aussie Rules founder Pere (Pedro) Moliner recently spoke with World Footy News about where footy in Europe currently stands and where it could go in future. Moliner echoes some of the views already seen in Europe, including the example of the Farum Cats in Denmark, where years of work at junior level is now translating into a senior side of young, but highly experienced, Danish players who make life very tough for other DAFL sides.
A preview of the 2006 Catalan footy season will appear shortly - in the meantime Moliner's full reflection on European footy follows.
This reflection is solely the philosophy of the LFAC in general terms. Other opinions could of course be more valid or better than ours, but the fundamental question is the same: we are all looking for the best for footy.
At the meeting held on October the 8th 2005, which among other topcis saw the creation of ARE (Aussie Rules Europe), a very important question was laid on the table - "what do we want for footy in Europe?".
The current reality is familiar to us all. The Australians living in Europe have a level of ability infinitely superior to the Europeans, and the tip of the lance for most countries' teams are formed of Australians... as is good and logical!
But if footy continues that way, then it will remain a great stranger in Europe, more often practised by Australians than by some "crazy". It is certain in everyone's mind that the development of footy requires the combination of the knowledge of the Australians with increasing participation of Europeans.
In Catalonia, it is clear to us that unless we introduce footy into schools to the children - via our program LFAC Schools - and unless these children increase in number, and unless some of them become athletes who have played footy since they were small - then our teams will continue losing all matches by large margins.
And within 4, 6 or 10 years will we have athletes who know how to play footy.
We enjoy watching the Australian players in Europe and we need to learn from them, but the health of a sport measures itself in the form of a pyramid: a large base (juniors who are learning) and smaller above (seniors).
I am sure that everyone who has read this reflection would agree with us. Therefore - is there a single country in Europe with more junior players than seniors? Everyone should answer that question for themselves.
If the answer is "no", then we're not doing what we think we are.
I don't want for a second to criticise or put down any of the efforts of the many people who dedicate, in one form or the other, their free time to footy. On the contrary, we congratulate everyone on their efforts. However, if we all push, it is best if we all push for the same goal.
Un saludo a todos - greetings to all.
(Translated from Castilian Spanish by Aaron Richard).
World Footy News