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Friday, November 16 2018 @ 07:49 pm ACDT

Kings of Lyon – ALFA Lions

Europe

Charles Bernigaud bought home a little more than postcards and stuffed koalas from his trip to Australia. Amongst his collection of souvenirs was a new love. “I discovered that sport [Australian Rules football] when I was in Australia for a year, and I was really amazed by intensity [of the game]. From there an opportunity grew for him to “bring a piece of it [the trip and Australia] to France”.

And so, the ALFA Lions were born.

Lyon is the second largest city in France, with a population of around two million people within the greater urban area. It is in the central-eastern part of the country between Paris and Marseille.  Charles explains that “I made a request at the beginning of the year to the CNFA and asked them if there were any [Australian Rules] teams around Lyon I can play for. They answered no and told me that closest teams were in Strasbourg, Marseille and Paris. It was a good opportunity [to grow a club], because Lyon is well situated geographically. It’s the second biggest city of France so we knew that we could create something good.”

 

 “I started not alone of course.  Two other people were involved at the beginning also. The CNFA put me in contact with a few people who had asked already the same question [about a team in Lyon]. That is when Bruno contacted me, and we decided with Pedr (our Australian coach) to create a team here.”

“For my personal reasons, I always loved sport. I played soccer and tennis for several years.  For me to participate and grow [this] Aussie sport in France is a great opportunity.  I was really touched too by the other French teams because they support each other as they know that Australian Rules footy in France is far of being [the most] popular game [in the country] and that support made me confident about the choice of building a team.”

After putting the initial building blocks in place, Charles and his crew in Lyon are now beginning to see the fruits of their labours. The hard work now begins, but there is already a positive air to the project.

“Actually we are just at the beginning. We are trying to find sponsors, fields for the game and many little things we have to set up like jerseys and equipment. But the motivation is here, and we have got already 15-20 people coming to every training [session] only three months after the team existed. That’s amazing and we already played last weekend our first game, a friendly one, against Strasbourg. And we won. The guys were amazing: fighting for every ball and showing the right spirit. I didn’t expect such a result as our experience is close to zero, even though we have  got good people who know footy.”

“That game comforted me on my thinking that we may be doing great things and making footy grow in Lyon. Even if we have low funds, we have got something called exclusivity [the only club in Lyon], and we can use that to make our team work. We will see, and be focused on first on our future games. We will be at the South Cup in February and see if we had worked hard enough.”

And in a final confident warning to all other French teams, Charles threw down the team’s final challenge:

“But we are an ambitious team, be aware of this.”

Good luck to the Kings of Lyon – the ALFA Lions.


 

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Kings of Lyon – ALFA Lions | 5 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Kings of Lyon – ALFA Lions
Authored by: Brett Northey on Monday, October 28 2013 @ 08:02 am ACDT

After 10+ years of footy in Europe being dominated by Ireland, the UK and Denmark, it's really exciting to see so many new clubs in countries like France and Germany, and the strength of Croatia.  There really is a solid amateur presence across most of Europe now.  It's nice to dream that maybe in another 10 years there will be 15 or so clubs in both France and Germany.

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Brett Northey - Co-founder and Chief Editor of WFN
Kings of Lyon – ALFA Lions
Authored by: Harley Vague on Tuesday, October 29 2013 @ 05:22 am ACDT

Years ago i thought germany was the key to  Europe and that AR should appeal to the French flair. It's good to see this happening, though i don't fully understand why Germany hasn't made it to the IC whereas similar leagues have. I'll have a little punt and suggest Italy might be the next.

Kings of Lyon – ALFA Lions
Authored by: Aaron Richard on Tuesday, October 29 2013 @ 05:51 am ACDT

Germany theoretically probably could have attended a few ICs now, but the league chose not to spend resources on the expensive trip to Australia.

The next most likely though, would be Croatia.  Italy still has not played a single match at 16 or 18-a-side level, whereas Croatia have a few EC campaigns behind them, and a good record at the Euro Cup.

 

Kings of Lyon – ALFA Lions
Authored by: Harley Vague on Thursday, October 31 2013 @ 10:34 pm ACDT

Just realised my comment seemed to imply attending the IC. No. I was crystal balling and thinking Italy might be next to come from nowhere so to speak. Croatia is playing strongly and immigrants to Australia where a feature of the WAFL just like Italiian and Greek immigrants featured in the VFL. Australian Football seems to be assisted by the presence of RU (or other contact sports)to a small degree. So I wouldn't expect a change in Greek circumstances for example..

Kings of Lyon – ALFA Lions
Authored by: Aaron Richard on Monday, October 28 2013 @ 04:00 pm ACDT

 L for Lions.