In the lead-up to this weekend's exhibition match between Sydney and the Kangaroos in LA, a training session was held for USAFL players with members of the AFL teams and dignitaries from the world of footy such as Ron Barassi - introduced to the American audience as being the "Vince Lombardi of Australian Football". Michael “Scuba” Russell reports for us from UCLA.
Alan Johnson is the Managing Director of the Ramada Inn in West Hollywood. He has strong links with the Australian Expat community in L.A. and with the North Melbourne Kangaroos as the ex-Chairman of the North Melbourne Football Club. His drive to make an AFL exhibition game happen as part of the Australia Week 2006 festivities will see Hollywood play host to AFL and USAFL football followed by a week long salute to Australia's other fine exports including the arts, food and wine, fashion. The local support is stong and it appears that the match will be a sell out. Here we preview the event and talk to first-time US coach Tom Ellis.
Disclaimer: The opinions in this piece are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the USAFL, its board, its member clubs or WFN.
While it is all well and good to say that developing footy internationally is important or to say the U.S. is an important market for talent and supporters, developing footy in the U.S. takes money. How much money? Does the AFL need to bear the burden of the funding? Is USFooty self-sustaining?
The GAA community in Ireland, a far from small slice of the Irish population, continues to be abuzz with debate about the International Rules Series, months after the losses to Australia in Perth and Melbourne. A high level meeting between the GAA and the AFL is scheduled for January. This article highlights some of the issues, plus Gaelic football's own embryonic international expansion.
The biggest story in AFL circles in recent weeks has been which television networks will secure the broadcast rights to the Australian Football League for the next 5 years. The total size of the bids have been big increases on the previous record deal, which should see a major increase in money flowing into the game. There have already been calls for increases to clubs, grass-roots footy, player wages and of course international footy development organisations will be putting up their hands.
In breaking news Channel 10 has announced that the Channel 7 and 10 groups have increased their offer to the AFL for the TV rights, matching the massive AU$780 million over 5 years of the Channel 9 bid.
With another year gone WFN looks back at some of the big events and
interesting stories for 2005. By no means an exhaustive list, we
nevertheless review where the international game went and ponder emerging
trends. Obviously the key story of the year was the build up towards and
then playing of the second International Cup. It was also a year when
funding to South Africa was significantly increased, several new
countries put their toe in the water of footy, and hopes for others faded.
International interest from AFL clubs was unprecedented and there were
many new signs of promise. As always there were a few setbacks but
overall the game appeared to march forward with increasing speed. With so much happening in 2005 a succinct summary has proved impossible, but if you're feeling fresh then read on for WFN's end of year wrap.
After existing for many years in the shadow of its neighbour and longer established rival, Denmark, Aussie Rules in Sweden, with leagues developing now in three regions, has staked its own claim on the footballing map.
In another boost for the game in Australia's northern neighbour, the AFL has agreed to increase funding to AFL-PNG by AU$15,000 per year. Garry Breust, AFL-PNG board member, released the information last week and has advised that the Board will meet "in the New Year to discuss this decision and the
practical implications". He went on to say that "We are pleased to see an extended commitment from the AFL and AFLQ and look forward to working with you (AFL-PNG supporters) to see the further growth of AFL football in PNG in 2006."
The original advice was from AFL Queensland CEO, Richard Griffiths - more information follows.
2005 saw the New Zealand Aussie Rules community assert itself as the pre-eminent footy nation outside Australia, the senior Falcons winning every match at the International Cup by an average margin of 55 points, footy played in more cities around New Zealand than ever before, two young NZAFL players attending the AIS-AFL draft camp and the national team being invited to join the Australian Country Football Championships.
World Footy News takes a look at NZ's domestic leagues and development programs and how they shaped up in 2005.
While the US Footy season pretty much finishes with the Nationals in early October, some footy continues on through the US winter. While in many parts of the US it is virtually impossible to play footy with fields covered in Ice and Snow, some southern regions find the winter months cool for footy.