The AFL's head of Game Development, David Matthews, has announced an agreement between AFL South Africa and the North-West Cricket Association which will provide Aussie Rules football with access to cricket ovals, sponsorship and a massive player base. Crucially, in an interview with a Melbourne newspaper, Matthews has tied together many of the threads that are strong topics of debate amongst supporters of international footy. He has clearly put forth the case for significantly increasing funding to South Africa, and the response from the AFL community in the coming months will be vital in determining the future direction of our sport.
worldfootynews.com is pleased to welcome several new correspondents, after our recent call for more volunteer writers. With Aussie Rules continuing to grow their assistance in bringing you the news will be most appreciated. We now have changes in place for Asia, Canada, and a new portfolio for the Middle East and the Indian sub-continent.
As recently reported on worldfootynews.com, the New Zealand AFL has lost its CEO with Rob Malone moving into a new position in Rugby in that country. With the AFL recently re-affirming its committment to international development, potentially exciting times are ahead for the Kiwi leagues. Also on offer is a part-time position as National Umpires Director.
As a Muslim and being of Lebanese extract, Bachar Houli is hardly the stereotypical footballer. Yet next week, Houli will pull on the Vic Metro jumper and represent his state in the Under-18 national competition. It is a big step for any footballer, let alone one who has had to struggle at times with the additional stresses of racial, religious and cultural differences.
The weekend of June 10th 2006 found more Asian locals than usual startled by the spectacle of International Aussie Rules in full flight in their backyards as the Asian Footy calendar heats up in the lead-up to the big one - the Asian Championships 06.
In part one of our interview with AFL Talent Manager Kevin Sheehan we discussed the AFL's plans for a new International Development Committee featuring influential people from within the AFL's structure, and funding issues for affiliates and potential new countries to the international Australian Football scene. In the second and concluding part of the interview we discuss a possible international Scholarship program, AFL club interest in South Africa, and the third International Cup in 2008.
The Western Regionals held this weekend in San Pedro, California serves a number of purposes. It allows the western US clubs to get together in some good competition matches, to gain experience for newcomers, to finalise team setups, to qualify players for the National Championships and to allow the USAFL board to understand the strength of various teams for ranking purposes going into the National Championships.
There have been a lot of questions floating around about what direction the Australian Football League will take regarding international development of Australian Football. In recent years they have been slowly building their commitment, in-line with the benefits that can clearly be seen, such as growing player numbers and a much improved standard at the last International Cup. But there have also been doubts and rumours of changes. worldfootynews.com is pleased to present a detailed interview with Kevin Sheehan, the AFL's Talent Manager, now incorporating the role of International Manager.
Football took another step forward in Pakistan recently with the Swat Continental Hotel in Mingora, playing host to the 'Seminar for the development of Australian Rules football in Pakistan' (WFN first reported activity in the region in the article College tournament planned for North-West Pakistan).
This year's Catalan Aussie Rules season kicks off on Saturday June 24 with Belfry Valls taking on new side the Barcelona Stars in Valls for the Mobles Pinky Trophy. Four sides will compete for the LFAC championship this year - representing the cities of Valls, Tarragona, Lleida and Barcelona - with the special match between Brazil and Catalonia planned for August.
Saturday the first of July will also see Belfry Valls visit Perpignan to take on the St Esteve Saints, who will also receive a visit from the Madrid Bears on the weekend of July 29-30.
In another sign of the International Rules game helping spread the word about the sports of Aussie Rules and Gaelic Football the first International Rules game was held this past weekend in Charlotte, North Carolina between a combine of the Atlanta Kookaburras and Atlanta Clan na nGael taking on the Charlotte James Connollys who had teamed up with the North Carolina Tigers. The game was played at the Overhills Soccer Complex in Concord just outside of Charlotte. With a population of 1.6 million people, Charlotte ranks as the 21st largest city by population in the USA.