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Tianjin footy oval launched

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The AFL has helped launch the first purpose built AFL oval in Tianjin as part of its ongoing commitment to grow Australian football in China.

The $1.5 million project is a collaboration between the City of Melbourne, the AFL and the Melbourne Football Club. They attended today’s launch along with the Vice Mayor of Tianjin Madam Zhang Junfang and the Vice Director of the Tianjin Binhai Development Investment Holding Co. Ltd.

AFL International Development Manager Tony Woods attended today’s launch in Tianjin and said the AFL was planning more activity in China, including an AFL Combine and exhibition matches.

“We see China as an important and growing market for the game and this purpose built AFL oval will enable more Chinese people to play and enjoy Australian football and showcase their talent,” he said.

“I want to thank the Vice Mayor of Tianjin Madam Zhang Junfang, the Tianjin Binhai Development Investment Holding Co. Ltd, the Melbourne Football Club and the City of Melbourne for their support to make this project possible.”

The idea for the project originated in 2005 when the then Mayor of Tianjin Dai Xianglong visited Melbourne. Following a tour of the MCG, Mayor Dai invited the Melbourne Football Club to visit Tianjin to introduce Australian football to the city.

In October 2010 the first AFL exhibition match between Melbourne and the Brisbane Lions, the Kaspersky Cup – AFL Shanghai Showdown, was played in Shanghai in front of a crowd of 7000 people and broadcast live on local television. The AFL also launched a Mandarin language website www.51afl.com to engage local interest in the game.

During 2011 AFL matches were broadcast weekly into China through the Shanghai Media Group on International Channel Shanghai, including the Toyota AFL Grand Final between Geelong and Collingwood.

China also fielded a team in the 2011 International Cup played in Melbourne and Sydney and a number of players of Chinese background were part of the Southern Dragons Football Club’s historic premiership in the Southern Football League.

The chief executive of the Melbourne Football Club, Cameron Schwab said it had experienced first-hand the excitement of the introduction of AFL into China.

“We look forward to supporting and being part of the AFL’s plans to further grow the game there with our own initiatives, including the creation of the Tianjin Demons to compete in the growing AFL China League,” he said.

“We’re also extremely excited about the opportunity that exists to build deeper engagement with Melbourne’s Chinese community, through a series of targeted programs and initiatives.”

Melbourne Lord Mayor Robert Doyle, who is currently leading a business mission in China, said the launch of the oval was a significant step in establishing the game in China.

“Melbourne is the sports capital of Australia and Melburnians are especially passionate about their football. It’s a thrill to now be sharing our love for this sport with the people of Tianjin,” the Lord Mayor said.

The City of Melbourne has also been working with the Tianjin Education Commission to develop a range of AFL training programs in primary and secondary schools.

Thanks to City of Melbourne for supplying the images that accompany this article.

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Tianjin footy oval launched | 5 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Tianjin footy oval launched
Authored by: Brett Northey on Tuesday, October 11 2011 @ 05:34 pm ACDT

This is great news.  We've been reporting on the Tianjin oval development for a long time now and you sometimes start to worry that it won't come to fruition - tremendous that it has been delivered.

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Brett Northey - Co-founder and Chief Editor of WFN
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Tianjin footy oval launched
Authored by: Cam Homes on Saturday, October 22 2011 @ 03:06 pm ACDT

Just need to see some footy played on it now!!!!!!

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Tianjin footy oval launched
Authored by: Lei88 on Monday, April 02 2012 @ 11:01 am ACST

Any idea of where it is? Hope to see some footy in it soon, and I think it would be a good place for a Grand Final gethering

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Tianjin footy oval launched
Authored by: Brett Northey on Tuesday, April 03 2012 @ 10:04 pm ACST

Hi,

We'll get our new China correspondent Derryn onto it to see what he can find out.

Cheers.

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Brett Northey - Co-founder and Chief Editor of WFN
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Tianjin footy oval launched
Authored by: Aaron Richard on Friday, April 06 2012 @ 09:13 am ACST

 It's in Tuanbo, which is a new satellite suburb of Tianjin.  Google Tuanbo Western District (Tuanbo xi qu) and you should find it.

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