As reported in The Age, Melbourne, on 8 December, the AFL has contingency plans for the under-17 Australian team, if the GAA pulls the plug on International Rules for both senior and under-17 competition between Ireland and Australia - contingency plans being a tour instead to South Africa.
This may happen as early as this weekend with the GAA Central Council meeting at Croke Park, however the Belfast Telegraph suggests the GAA will delay a final decision until after meeting with the AFL in Dubai in January.
More details are emerging of Aussie Rules UK's plans for a national league in 2007, with 5 divisions planned across Britain, featuring 21 teams of 9 per side, possibly including quite a few existing British Australian Rules Football League clubs.
Within Australia, knowledge amongst locals that Australian Rules football is being played overseas is far from commonplace. It does gain small mention however, at larger events such as the International Cup, Arafura Games, Barassi Youth Tournament and occasionally, when a national team tours Australia.
Japan is lucky to be one of the more recognised countries that play the game outside of Australia (albeit on an amateur basis). Aside from mainstream media, World Footy News has also run numerous stories on both the clubs in Japan and their representative squad, the Samurais. Yet what most people aren't aware is that there are actually two separate football entities in Japan, the Japan Australian Football League (JAFL) and the Nippon Australian Football League (NAFL). Almost all previous attention has been directed towards the JAFL and their representative side, the Samurais, with two brief mentions of the NAFL, in Four teams, but in two leagues - footy in Kansai, Japan and Japan AFL 2006 Preview.
In a previous story we reported on Brian Dixon's world tour to promote Aussie Rules, visiting China, Argentina, the Philippines and Cuba. While in Calcutta last month he held a number of clinics with local schools, putting down the foundations for four clubs in the metropolis and the potential for Indian representation at the 2008 International Cup.
A battle may be looming in Britain as the long standing league the BARFL (website down at time of writing - a bad omen?) appear set to be challenged by the relatively new organisation on the scene, Aussie Rules UK, in regions outside of London. In an interesting twist last month the founder of ARUK successfully ran for a position on the BARFL Committee before resigning the following day to pursue plans for a new league in 2007 with hints of a significant sponsor. Not surprisingly both sides have different opinions on how this has all unfolded and whether the existing Regional League will be affected. Is there to be a battle or something completely different...
A quick note to say that the link to our World Footy Wiki has been removed due to problems when WFN changed host provider (no perjorative implied towards the provider, more an issue regarding our lack of technical support). We also feel that wikipedia has become such a major source of information that it is better that clubs and leagues maintain their information there. As such, links to countries on our World Footy Atlas to our internal wiki have been re-directed to wikipedia sites. Where an equivalent is not available a stub (a simple initial page) will be created. Our thanks to all who contributed to our wiki and if anyone feels there is significant information worth retrieving please let us know and we will try to extract it for use in wikipedia.
Despite being 150 years old and played in every Australian state and territory for a century, some readers may be surprised to find that there are places in Australia that Australian rules football has not, until very recently, reached. While the game continues to grow overseas, on Australia's own soil there are still remote areas where the code is has never been played. The game starts fresh in these areas similarly to the way it starts overseas. And with a little assistance, it is thriving. Following our story on footy in the Tiwi Islands we investigate the progress that the code is making in regions where rugby league has been well established for decades and Australian rules is very much considered - a foreign game. It is afterall, a very big country ....
Football on the Tiwi Islands is one of the biggest success stories for the sport of Aussie Rules. The history of the sport on the island also tells the story of how difficult, yet eventually rewarding it can be to find pathways to the elite level, a path that countries like South Africa and Papua New Guinea may one day follow. The Tiwi Islands may be officially part of Australia's Northern Territory, but the 2,600 indigenous inhabitants of Bathurst and Melville Islands 80 kilometres north of Darwin consider themselves simply "Tiwis", distinct from Indigenous Australians. With the isolation from the mainland, Tiwis developed a unique culture, they speak Tiwi, have their own government and proudly wave their own flag. But since 1942, an important part of their culture has also been the sport of Australian rules football.
Earlier this year, WFN ran a story on a a young Muslim, Bachar Houli and his aspirations to become the AFL's first high-profile Muslim footballer. For those that aren't aware, the draft took place last Saturday and Houli was fortunate enough to have been selected by Essendon with pick 42.
Just a quick note to let readers know that we have recently added "ClustrMaps" to our site, in the right hand column, under Geo Stats. This third-party software produces a nice snapshot of where across the world people are viewing worldfootynews.com
In the West, the Middle East is never far from front page news. Unfortunately, in the world of Aussie Rules, it has been quite the contrary. There have been attempts to set up competitions in Lebanon, Israel and Turkey, but ultimately, they either haven't yet come to fruition, or they are on hiatus. Furthermore, the recent tension in the area is unlikely to have done a great deal to help proceedings. Yet almost unnoticed, the United Arab Emirates, renowned for its rapid city construction levels and more tolerant way of life (at least from a Western perspective), has produced a team in the city of Dubai.