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World Footy Census 2004 - Europe

  • Thursday, March 03 2005 @ 01:07 am ACDT
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General News In this, the second results article in the World Footy Census 2004 series, we look at the European nations. The region has great potential with so many countries close to each other, but it also faces many challenges. The development of Australian Football can be seen at many levels in Europe.

Despite the combined efforts of several World Footy News writers, acquiring data from Europe has been quite difficult, although of course there has been plenty of help too. So quite a lot of estimating has had to be done, but we are confident the results are reasonably accurate, because although exact numbers were not obtained, the number of clubs across each country were.

We start in the West, with the reigning International Cup champions, and will make our way East, listing the major footy nations, before returning to the smaller groups.


As has been reported before, Ireland had a mixed 2004, with several teams struggling, but the off season has seen renewed enthusiasm to firm up those sides and introduce probably two more in 2005. A correction courtesy of Ciarán Ó hEadhra since we first published this, is that some junior development did indeed occur in Ireland. He reports there were Auskick courses by the Dublin Demons, Mullingar Tigers and Clare Crows, and that with the Demons he ran a round robin tournament for four junior sides. And of course in the short term the league finds excellent recruits from the Gaelic football ranks. In general, there were 6 clubs and 131 senior players, 32 juniors, that fit our criteria.

ClubSenior Players
Belfast Redbacks16
Dublin Demons35 (and 32 juniors)
Dublin Eagles28
Clare Crows15
Leeside Lions22
Mullingar Tigers15


Scotland had its first league season in 2004, under the SARFL banner, with three small clubs starting. Although technically Scotland and England together form the United Kingdom, often in sport they compete separately, so here we will treat them as separate. So for Scotland, 3 teams, 27 seniors, 0 juniors.

ClubSenior Players
Edinburgh Uni Academicals 10
Old Town Body Snatchers (Edinburgh)10
Caledonian Sharks (Glasgow)7


In England we run into the huge expat Australian contingent. This has provided the vital early growth of footy in the country, but perhaps also hindered the development of a major local league. However, recent growth has seen the emergence of three affiliated leagues in the BARFL (besides the SARFL) - the Premiership (P), Conference (C) and Regional (R) Leagues. Here we were heavy on approximates. The totals were 18 teams, 435 seniors, 0 juniors.

Club (League)Senior Players
North London Lions (P)25
Putney Magpies (P)25
Sussex Swans (P)30
Wandsworth Demons (P)25
West London Wildcats (P)25
Wimbledon Hawks (P)25
Barnes Magpies (C)25
City Swans (C)30
Clapham Demons (C)25
Ealing Emus (C)25
Fulham Hawks (C)25
Regents Park Lions (C)25
Sheperds Bush Raiders (C)25
Bristol Dockers (R)20
Northwestern Miners (R)20
Nottingham Scorpions (R)20
Reading Kangaroos (R)20
Swindon Devils (R)20


For years there were rumours of a league in Catalan in Spain, as well as the better know club the Madrid Bears. It seems the league in Valls, near Barcelona, does indeed still exist, with a metro style league consisting of the teams Belfrys, Coyotes, Wendells and Gabas. Totals for Spain: 5 teams, 58 seniors, 0 juniors.

ClubSenior Players
Madrid Bears30
Valls league28


As the first non-English speaking country (although their English is, in general, excellent) to take up Aussie Rules, Denmark has a unique place in history. It is also the most successful in Europe at introducing the game to juniors. The DAFL is often re-organised to try to develop the game, and in 2004 clubs split to make more teams. The data here for each club assumes an even split, but the totals are quite accurate. There are two leagues in Denmark, the Jylland (J) and Sjælland (S), and players also combine to represent these regions. We are not including the Scania division, which is counted with Sweden. Totals are 10 teams, 200 seniors, 60 juniors (all based with Farum).

Club (League)Senior Players
Aalborg Roos (J)20
Aalborg Power (J)20
Århus Bombers (J)20
Farum Cats (S)20
Farum Lions (S)20
North Copenhagen Barras (S)20
North Copenhagen Cudas (S)20
Copenhagen Crocodiles (S)20
Amager Tigers (S)20
Amager Hawks (S)20


Initially involved only with the DAFL, as a Scania league, Swedish footy has expanded to include Stockholm and Göteborg. Totals are 7 teams, 161 seniors, 0 juniors. The Swedes and Germans must be the best chances to be new attendees at the 2008 International Cup.

ClubSenior Players
Norrut Stockholm22
Central Stockholm22
Söderut Stockholm22
Göteborg Berserkers20
Helsingborg West Raptors25
Lund Magpies25
Port Malmö Maulers25


The German AFL has made steady progress in recent years, expanding to 5 teams and about 78 seniors, 0 juniors. Encouragingly, most players are locals.

ClubSenior Players
Berlin Crocodiles15
Dusseldorf Lions15
Frankfurt Redbacks15
Hamburg Dockers18
Munich Roos15


There are several other countries in Europe with teams being formed. In the embryonic stages, all with around 15 regular players, are The Netherlands, Belgium and Austria. France had two teams turn out in 2004, the Paris Cockerels and the Strasbourg Kangaroos - 15 regulars each would be a fair guess. In 2005, work has also commenced in Italy, but that is for a later census. Mention should also be made of Croatia and Turkey, both EU candidates and both with people working to introduce the game there.

So in summary, Europe has 7 countries with established leagues, with 4 more making attempts in 2004. Overall numbers are still small, with a total of approximately 1165 senior players (but only 92 juniors), across 59 clubs, but in terms of international competition they have an advantage in that distances between most teams and countries are relatively small. Hopefully it will not be too long before we see regular European championships featuring all the established countries of the region.

Note: since it has been quite some time since the first census article, as a reminder, you can click here to see the North American results.