Tuesday, August 13 2013 @ 05:50 pm ACST
Contributed by: Troy Thompson
Further to Shane Hendrickson's article on the Asian summit earlier this week - we have received the following press release.
MEDIA RELEASE FROM AFL ASIA - AFL ASIA FORMED BY ASIAN FOOTY
Australian Football clubs in Asia are pleased to announce AFL Asia has been formed. The new body was created at a meeting attended by Asian football club presidents in Bangkok two weeks ago.
AFL Asia will initially bring together 15 clubs from 11 countries in south-east and north-east Asia under the one umbrella organisation. Additional clubs are expected to join in the coming years.
The establishment of AFL Asia is also the first step towards a formal affiliation with the Australian Football League (AFL). AFL Asia’s newly elected President, Phil Johns (Vietnam Swans - pictured) described the development as “a game changer for Australian Football in the Asian Century”.
AFL Asia, as the regional alliance aims to:
- Greatly increase the visibility of footy in Asia
- Encourage and facilitate the development of local players
- Provide greater structure and coordination resulting in more footy
- Use Australia’s signature sport as a vehicle to promote Australian interests
- Provide a catalyst and ongoing interest for Asia’s growing alumni of former players
- Attract additional resources to support the above
“Historically Asian football clubs have been a collection of independent clubs that have achieved incredible things” said Johns.
“For example, the Jakarta Bintangs conducts clinics in local schools four times per week for up to 100 students, while the Hong Kong Dragons and Singapore Sharks have 300 children enrolled in each of their Auskick and junior development programs.
“Clubs also conduct special memorial matches that are played on ANZAC Day weekend in Thailand, Borneo and Vietnam.
“For more than two decades, Australian Football in Asia has been powered by passion. By coming together it will significantly enhance our ability to drive greater outcomes.”
Initially, there will be two geographic leagues: the preexisting SCAFL (South China AFL) and the South East Asia AFL (formerly known as the EAAFL (East Asia AFL)).
AFL International Development Manager Tony Woods welcomed the decision by Asia’s footy clubs to form AFL Asia.
“The AFL is very aware of footy clubs in Asia that have predominantly had expatriate Australian members. These Australians are well networked throughout the region and are passionate and committed to promoting footy across the region.
They also have increasingly encouraged the participation of locals to play the game which is highlighted by the Singapore Wombats who have a local as captain and the Chinese development team in the SCAFL.
“The formation of a single entity, AFL Asia, will make it easier for the AFL to engage effectively in Asia. AFL Asia opens some very exciting possibilities,” Woods said.
On Saturday August 17 2013, the 14th Annual Australian Football Asian Championships will be contested by 13 clubs in Thailand.
AFL Asia – Member Clubs: Bali Geckos, Borneo Bears, Cambodian Eagles, China Reds (Shanghai and Beijing), Guangzhou Scorpions, Hong Kong Dragons, Jakarta Bintangs, Macau Lightning, Malaysian Warriors, Philippine Eagles, Singapore Sharks (Auskick & Masters), Singapore Wombats (Internationals), Thailand Tigers, Timor Leste Crocs and Vietnam Swans.
AFL Asia – Committee Members: President, Phil Johns (Vietnam Swans); Vice President and Sponsorships, Steve Morrish (Cambodian Eagles); Auskick and Youth Development, Dennis Cornwell (Singapore Sharks); Treasurer (interim), Darren Whitfield (Hong Kong Dragons) and Mark Stennett (Vietnam Swans).