The Ontario AFL has had a bit of a setback in 2006 with the loss of the Windsor Mariners and London Magpies, two struggling regional clubs, but this has been partially offset by the arrival of a new club based in Toronto, the Central Blues. We talk to club-founder Bruce Parker.
The USAFL today announced the cancellation of the annual East-West tournament that was scheduled for July 1st in Sarasota, Florida. The USAFL board earlier this year resolved to not have a repeat of 2005 where the league incurred expenses of $2700 and no return income for the event. Fifty player registrations were received for the event but when the league called for a $100 deposit (refundable at the event) only twenty-five responses were received. Given the response the league had no choice but to cancel the event with the likelihood that insufficient numbers would be available for a quality match, and that the league may make a loss on it.
With FIFA World Cup action drawing near and the Socceroos having qualified for the first time in 32 years, Australian sports fans are turning their eyes towards Germany in anticipation of the global sporting tournament. However going a few steps further some Australian journalists and soccer officials have proclaimed the demise of the indigenous game in favour of the world game. Dutch coach of the Socceroos, Guus Hiddink, recently said the world game will be number 1 in Australia ahead of "the other games you try and invent" referring of course to Australian Football, Rugby League and Rugby Union. However there is plenty of evidence that Aussie Rules has a great future, which we look at in this article.
Is the AFL the future of AFL in the US? In US professional sports the acronym AFL stands for Arena Football League. The work of Tommy Ellis, the Denver Bulldogs and the Colorado Crush suggest that the future success of professional footy in the US may lie with the Arena Football League rather than with that other AFL.
The Dallas Magpies have been the only club in Texas to last more than a few seasons to date, with repeated efforts to start regular footy in Houston, San Antonio and Austin failing to build lasting clubs. 2006 may be the turning point - with a Houston side playing matches and interested parties trying to get the Austin and San Antonio sides back from hibernation. However, a lot of hard work remains to be done - WFN takes a look at where Texas footy could be headed.
Catalan Aussie Rules founder Pere (Pedro) Moliner recently spoke with World Footy News about where footy in Europe currently stands and where it could go in future. Moliner echoes some of the views already seen in Europe, including the example of the Farum Cats in Denmark, where years of work at junior level is now translating into a senior side of young, but highly experienced, Danish players who make life very tough for other DAFL sides.
A preview of the 2006 Catalan footy season will appear shortly - in the meantime Moliner's full reflection on European footy follows.
Australian Football in Canada continues to spread, with the Calgary Roos looking to create a spin-off side, the Bears, in much the same vein as the Vancouver Cougars have produced the Burnaby Eagles. These bears look a bit more intimidating than the cuddley koala "bears" that struggled on the Gold Coast in Australia a decade ago (before becoming the Brisbane Lions). And this weekend BC and Alberta sides will converge on Kelowna for a 10-a-side tournament, with a further event planned for Vancouver in July.
A key part of maintaining Australian Football as the
premier sport in its homeland is providing first-class facilities for
spectators, and ensuring they are not denied the opportunity to attend
matches. With soccer now rising as the main threat to the AFL,
Australian Football administrators can no longer afford the luxury of looking at
their sold out stadiums and assuming all is well. Many other sports are
bidding for the family budget's entertainment dollar, and people turned
away will increasingly embrace alternative options. Over time the
stadia may continue to sell out, but the overall supporter-base and TV
audience could slowly be eroded. However footy has not been idle, with
most states enjoying major upgrades of facilities, and Western Australia
is about to do likewise, leaving only South Australia as the major AFL
stronghold with an insufficient ground.
worldfootynews.com is a not-for-profit group helping to promote the internationalisation of Australian Football. Our efforts are based around reporting stories about leagues around the world, sourcing initial information from websites, forums and a large list of contacts from inside and outside of leagues and clubs. The great Australian game is steadily spreading and to do it justice WFN needs several more volunteers. We are currently looking for new writers to assist in covering the Asia and Oceania regions, as well as Canada and Ireland. A writer specifically for Japan who speaks Japanese would also be very useful.
Supporters of international footy will be excited that the first country has arrived that can regularly provide valuable footballers to leagues in Australia. This means that the game is truly developing well in their country. Of course there is a drawback that must be remembered. The lure of Australia will provide players with valuable experience and possibly an income, but a net loss of players from the home country will weaken the domestic league they have left.
Carlton's Irish recruits, the O'hAilpin brothers, are continuing their development with the Northern Bullants in the Victoria Football League. The younger of the two, Aisake, has recently been in excellent form in the Bullants' reserve grade, twice named best player for his side. However he has now experienced another aspect of the game that he wouldn't be quite so keen to learn about - a visit to the tribunal charged with striking.