AFL seeking international involvement in 150
Monday, March 24 2008 @ 02:30 am ACDT
Contributed by: Brett Northey
After the initial disappointment to hear that the book launched for the 150 years of Australian Football apparently hasn't given attention to the game's international spread in the past few decades (a fairly serious oversight), it is pleasing that the 150 celebrations are seeking to embrace international footy in other ways.
Staff involved with the 150 website have several areas that football leagues can get involved, including Kick around the World, photos for the 150 website, the Community Football Weekend and promotion of the International Cup in August. Details follow.
Pleasingly the official calendar lists the International Cup on the program. This calendar can be expected to be widely seen so should raise awareness. Of course it isn't a patch on a television advertising campaign as currently being seen for the 150 - one can only dream of that level of exposure for the international dimension to footy. But the 150 website also lists the International Cup in its What's On section. We've suggested the ic08.com.au website be added there too.
The Community Football Weekend is planned for May 10th - 11th. A handbook is available to assist leagues and clubs in planning appropriate events. In it, Kevin Sheedy says "This weekend is not just for players — it’s an opportunity to celebrate the game with all the people who support your community club. This includes your officials and volunteers, or the mum who has made the post-match sandwiches for the past 20 years, grandpa who still brings out the oranges at quarter and three-quarter time, or the children who watch dad or mum play each week. It’s a weekend where everyone from your community club can get together and celebrate Australian Football 150 Years". Visit the CFW section to register. So far the states and territories of Australia are listed with matches, but we're hoping to see an international section too.
There's also an email newsletter for the 150, and its first instalment features a quiz that includes the question "List two countries that are competing in the International Cup being played between August 27 and September 6". Hopefully all these types of mentions will build up awareness over the next few months.
The Kick Around the World Day is scheduled for August 7th. It encourages Australians around the world to kick a football on the day. "People will also be urged to bring a footy to work, school etc and have a kick. A special Schools Program has also been put in place leading up the day". Presumably the schools program is within Australia only, but it could be used as a good excuse for Australian Football fans around the world to let their workmates or schoolmates know a bit about the sport.
Perhaps the best opportunity in terms of exposure for international Australian Football is the request for photos of players involved in footy in front of international landmarks around the world. And the AFL's Tinika Van Dort also told worldfootynews.com, "Would love some overseas stories of people kicking footy's in unusual places - a really big focus for us for August 7". Stories and photos can be sent to 150years (at) afl.com.au.
And finally as has been noted in an earlier article, the AFL is calling for ideas to take the game forward starting the next 150 years. AFL CEO Andrew Demetriou says on the website, "We want you to take part in the ultimate ideas forum by submitting your views on where we are and where we want to be as a sporting code. And also how we can get there. During the next six months, we will sift through ideas, analyse the opportunities that come from the community, and force action". We expect our readers will have plenty of thoughts on the game's future. Ideas can be submitted here: Feedback form.