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Sunday, August 31 2014 @ 09:44 AM CST

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New Regional Manager for AFL Europe

Europe

The AFL Europe will soon welcome Ben MacCormack as its new Regional Manager, after the previous apointee Peter Romaniw had to return to Australia following visa problems.

Gerard Murphy says he was disappointed Romaniw could not stay in Europe, stating "He was doing an excellent job and we were disappointed that he couldn't stay with us. Peter is working for the AFL in Melbourne and is continuing to provide us with support from Australia until Ben starts in mid-March."

The AFL Europe only received its current name after last year's Euro Cup in Milan, with the move creating some talk in the international footy scene. Murphy explains that "At the initial meetings, there was lots of discussion about what the relationship with the AFL should 'look like'. It was agreed by the countries that we should have a strong relationship with the AFL and that this relationship should be fostered and developed to produce maximum benefits for the region."

"The decision to establish ourselves as the EAFA was taken in order to create a 'neutral' brand that would enable everyone to join regardless of previous alignments. However, 9 months later in Milan, it was decided by the general assembly that we should change our name to AFL Europe, pending some clarification from the AFL on a small number of queries."

"We now have a very close relationship with the AFL and we have just appointed our new Regional Manager, Ben MacCormack, a position funded by the AFL. The appointment of Tony Woods has also been an excellent step forward as he is able to deal with any concerns that we have promptly."

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AFL ponders lightning carnival to kick off Cup

International Cup 2011

 AFL International Development Manager Tony Woods was in Adelaide this week for the launch of a major AFL Fiji fundraiser by Port Adelaide's Fijian connection, David Rodan and Alipate Carlisle; more on that later.  worldfootynews.com took the opportunity to sit down with Woods to discuss a range of issues about the sport's international growth, and some of Tony's thoughts will be featured across several articles.

High on the agenda was August's International Cup, with two questions that come up each Cup top of our list - what format will be used and what support will the AFL be offering competing countries.

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Italy's men's team reschedule IC debut for 2014

Europe

The AFL Italia have deciding to withdraw their men's team from the 2011 International Cup, with league president Nicola Giampaolo saying "Only in the last few days we have taken the hard decision to not go to the IC. The main reasons are the financial difficulties of funding a 30 person squad between players and staff, and the availability of the best squad of players for a period of three weeks."

Giampaolo remains upbeat about the AFL Italia's progress and believes they will be a strong position to compete in 2014. "We are a very young association. AFL Italia just stared kicking a footy around in mid 2009 and was formally registered in april 2010 and has already made huge steps forward both on the playing field (6th overall in the Euro Cup) and off the field hosting a great Euro Cup in Parabiago."

"We want to concentrate our attention on developing the national competetion and expanding the number of registered players and begin to play some 18-a-side matches. Our main goals are the European Championships in 2013 and the next International Cup in 2014 when we will have much more experience under our belt and will be able to field a competitive team."

Update: The AFL Italia women's team are still planning to attend, it is only the men's side that have withdrawn.

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Swansea Magpies go back to school

Europe

It was a first for Welsh ARFL club the Swansea Magpies on Tuesday 14th February 2011 where two of their senior players, Tim Atkins and Aled Morris, took Australian Rules Football into the classroom of Bishop Gore Comprehensive School. The club was invited by the local 5x60 officer, Louise Snelgrove, to introduce Aussie Rules to the Year 9 boys and girls.

The lesson went very well, with the children responding positively to a brand new sport that all but one of them had never heard of. The pupils are at a stage where they will soon choose which G.C.S.E. subjects they will take in years 10 and 11. The school were looking to use the session to help promote Physical Education G.C.S.E. and potentially offer an alternative pathway to football (soccer) and rugby. Maybe Aussie Rules will find its way into the curriculum at some point in the future.

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East Timor out of IC, but domestic footy growing

Asia

The AFL Timor-Leste have decided to withdraw from the running for the 2011 International Cup, and will instead focus on building their domestic competition with a view to making their IC debut in 2014.

Since beginning in 2007, the AFL Timor-Leste has grown to an 11-a-side league of six teams in 2011, with the playing base now composed of over 80% local Timorese. In conjunction with senior footy, the AFLTL has been conducting Auskick clinics, and the Timor Crocs national team has made appearances at tournaments in Bali and Darwin.

The league recently received some assistance from Australia, with the Brisbane Lions sending a full set of their 2010 white away jumpers over to East Timor. Association representative and avid Lions supporter Anthony Draper said "I heard the jumpers were no longer being used and so I asked them if they could help us out, they were fantastic and sent us an entire playing kit plus some balls."

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NAB Cup kicks off with a sprinkling of international flavours

General News

Round 1 of the NAB cup saw the new 3 team 20-minute half format. Half the clubs took the park in week 1. The preseason games allow the clubs to see how players who haven't yet made their senior AFL debut will fair against seasoned opponents and with a number of players on club lists still recovering from injuries this gives some of the internationals at clubs a chance to show their wares.

Melbourne had the best of the Adelaide teams on their own turf on Friday night showing the benefits of seasons of rebuilding a list at the bottom of the ladder. English born Brad Moran in for the Crows and Fijian-Australian Alipate Carlile suiting up for Port Adelaide.

Saturday night saw the big drawcards Collingwood, Carlton and Richmond fill Etihad stadium,  and the Pies continued where they left off 2010 in solid form. Three Irishmen took the field in Jamie O’Reilly for Richmond playing in defence, Setanta o’hAilpin at centre half forward and Zac Tuohy both lining up for Carlton. Not a great deal to report for any of them but they are up and going and in the mix for the season proper.

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Portland name change

North AmericaWith the beginning of the 2011 season fast approaching, the Portland Power Australian Football Club is pleased to announce that the team has been renamed the Portland Steelheads Australian Football Club.

The Steelheads name was chosen after an exhaustive search process. Club members submitted and voted on over 100 suggestions for the new identity before choosing the Steelheads name. The image of a steelhead swimming upstream and leaping across rapids is an iconic one in Oregon and throughout the Pacific Northwest.

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