Russia On Ice – Moscow Aussie Rules 2013
Saturday, March 23 2013 @ 05:51 pm ACDT
Contributed by: Wesley Hull
Roger Scott, president of AFL Russia, is confident that the nation’s Australian Rules football ambitions will once again be on the rise in 2013. Just as soon as the current European winter releases its icy grip. In a story being played out across the continent, snow and ice are making footy practice a little problematic.
"The new season kicked off on Friday, March 8th with a practice match in the snow. The first official training should be this Sunday, but we’ve had one of the snowiest winters in history, and it doesn’t look like melting any time soon, so we could be delayed," explains Roger.
Whilst this scenario might suggest a slow start to the year, Roger is confident that things will pick up from here. “I’m helping organize the festival of Australian Culture in Moscow for July this year. It’ll be the first time such an event has been put on here. It should be a huge occasion."
"We’re hoping to play a practice match against a European or any foreign team as one of the main events for the festival, so we’re trying to find a team, whether it be local European, European representative or whoever, who’s ready to come! We’re also going to be running demonstrations, selling merchandise and showing games there." Now, there’s an invitation for someone to run with!
Additionally, there is movement on the playing front, with a focus on developing local teams. Last year saw a match in Moscow which saw the two remaining teams play each other. For the record, the Slavs 90 defeated the Pirates 88.
The original intention was a three team tournament. The previous year saw the Moscow Shooters also involved as the third team in the interestingly named “Concrete and Steel Cup” and actually taking the honours on the day. But this year, Roger says the structure and approach is a little different. "We divided the [playing] group into two clubs last year, and our goal this year will be to make them definitive – get uniforms, create a culture, perhaps even have them train separately."
One of the key goals this year is to see Russian Czars again have a national team at the 2013 Axios Euro Cup. After first coming onto the Euro Cup radar in 2008, it took until 2011 for the Czars to actually compete at the event.
Even then, things didn’t go exactly to script. "In 2011, our debut, we only managed to get 2 Russian players there, as our visa applications got rejected for the rest of them." Nevertheless, they got there and competed, and plan to again this year. “[We are] 99% sure we’ll be in Bordeaux this year. Pretty pumped because we’ll probably have a 100% Russian side."
There is certainly a positive vibe coming from Roger about the continued development of football in Moscow. It is to be hoped that his goal of Russia playing in Bordeaux comes true. This would certainly be a great reward for the hard work and sacrifice made by Roger and his friends to develop the game in the country.
Of course, the snow and ice needs to melt first.
It is hoped that World Footy News will have an update on the state of the game in the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk very soon to complete the picture of Australian rules football in Russia.
The Russian Czars huddle at the 2011 Euro Cup.