Contributed by: Aaron Richard
Russia's set to go from having no organised Australian rules football presence a month ago, to having clubs in two separate cities by mid-June, with the fledgling club in Krasnoyarsk to be joined by a new group in Moscow who will begin training on the weekend of June 12th.
Australian expat Roger Scott is leading the charge in the Russian capital, after being inspired by news of Paul Kube kicking the footy with locals in the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk. Phil Porublev from the EAFA / AFL Europe, being an Australian of Russian background, has also been working hard to support a footy presence in Russia, sending materials such as balls to Moscow.
Scott has found around a dozen initial interested players so far, with only two of those, an Englishman and another Aussie, being non-Russians. Judging by the size of Moscow's population and the positive response to the idea so far, he believes that having a number of 9-a-side teams playing by the end of the summer isn't out of the question.
"Judging by the initial popularity of the idea, I'd say it'd be pretty easy to building up around 4 teams. But training so many people will be a challenge, and I'm afraid there aren't too many people here who already know the game, or who will have time to help me train," Scott says.
"I learnt Russian at uni and was given a scholarship to study here in Moscow. It's an amazing city, and I chose to stay and find work, currently I'm in the real estate industry," Scott says.
Roger Scott comes from a footballing family, and was a Hawks fan from the moment he was born. His father and uncle both made the AFL (VFL) draft, but opted to play suburban footy for North Heidelberg and VFA club Preston (now known as the Northern Bullants) to avoid being drafted by Collingwood. His grandfather, Lloyd Scott, was a longstanding treasurer of the Preston/Northern Bullants. His brother still plays amateur footy in Melbourne.
The creation of teams in multiple Russian cities opens up the possibility of hosting domestic or even international tournaments, with Paul Kube in Krasnoyarsk noting that despite Krasnoyarsk and Moscow being 3,500 kms apart, there are numerous domestic air connections, as well as direct flights between Krasnoyarsk and cities in Asia such as Beijing.
With its huge geographic range and population, the international footy community will definitely be watching Russia's progress with great interest.
Anyone wanting to get in touch can do so via the Facebook group Australian rules football Russia.
World Footy News