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Melbourne in pole position for IC11
Authored by: Brett Northey on Sunday, May 17 2009 @ 03:18 pm ACST

Eurofooty, I'm not sure if you do disagree with what I wrote - I think we were talking about slightly different things. The suggestion by the poster "hello" was for "Some of the AFL administration could breakaway to form an international govering body that governs all league and clubs in the world including the AFL. I think International Australian Football Federation would be a good choice for a name."

So I interpreted that as calling for a separate world governing body, and I'm arguing that is highly unlikely in the next 20 years, for better or for worse. If footy grows like we would all like, then certainly at some point in time a true FIFA-style body will have to emerge, but that is almost certainly decades away. What you suggest in your post appears to be something different.

Whether there would be some more loose association of leagues, intended to work with the AFL and still recognise the AFL's role, which sounds more like what you then go on to discuss, then that would be more likely to occur.

But having said all that, I'm still sceptical. My opinion is that it would still be unlikely to be of any significant size in the next 10 or so years. I guess we could then debate what significant means. As we've discussed, countries like South Africa simply won't see the need whilst their support remains high. They will feel their own direct advocacy is adequate - all countries affiliated with the AFL are always capable of talking directly to them.

With AFL Oceania ramping up, I doubt there will be a strong demand there any time soon. I haven't sensed a demand from North America. AFL Middle East seem to be working well with the AFL at the moment. In Asia, we're seeing a regional body like what you suggest emerging, although it's likely to remain an Asian body and whether it will include the stronger growing footy nations of China, Japan and Indonesia remains to be seen.

Europe is a special case. Perhaps where it would be possible is the newer countries that have had little to do with the AFL including haven't attended the International Cups. If no one tells them about the AFL and the AFL don't go looking for them, then they may well be open to overtures to form their own association. I think we've seen that a bit in Europe in recent years, where the lack of understanding by some countries of what the AFL sees as its role has been a little surprising, for a few reasons. If the move towards an AFL Europe was unsuccessful then I think it would be reasonably ripe for some kind of association to have more teeth, be it ARE or whatever.

So I could see the emergence of a body at a regional level, to advocate as a block, such as we've heard Malte Schudlich at AFL Germany suggest. It depends whether AFL Europe gets up. But a world body as such, representing a significant portion of countries with more than say 200 players, my personal opinion is that it's unlikely.

Brett Northey - Co-founder and Chief Editor of WFN