Australian Rules Football appears to be going from strength to strength in Papua New Guinea. Numbers are growing fast, especially at junior level, and the game is developing a great reputation in the community, both on and off the field.
South Africa stands alone as a beacon for Aussie Rules in Africa (with the exception of some junior clinics in Kenya). If it can become a major sport in that country, there could easily be a natural spread to surrounding nations, as South Africa is the economic powerhouse of the continent, providing employment for hundreds of thousands of immigrants. World Footy News reviews last year's numbers in this third instalment of its 2004 census.
Greece have won the Australian Football Multicultural Cup for 2005, defeating traditional rivals Turkey by 14 points in the final. Eight sides, representing Melbourne's Croatian, Turkish, Greek, Vietnamese, Italian, Israeli, Lebanese and Aboriginal communities were on show, with the day held in great spirits in keeping with Harmony Day.
In good news for the many fans of Australian Rules Football outside Australia, several options for overseas fixtures are being considered for 2005 and 2006, with England, New Zealand, the US and United Arab Emirates all being mentioned.
As part of a night of celebrations for teams and individuals achieving national or international triumph in their sport, the Frankfurt Redbacks were awarded an Ehrenmedaille ('Medal of Honour') by the city of Frankfurt on February 25th.
As happens every few years, as the best formula for footy in the United States is sought, some of the major leagues have undergone a significant restructure for 2005, with the emergence of the Eastern AFL.
As the 2nd International Cup draws closer, the AFL South Africa are trying to raise funds to get their national side to the tournament in Melbourne. Several legends of the game have come together to promote the cause, and the Victorian public can get involved through a dinner to be held next week.
World Footy News has often been criticised for its informal association with Brian Clarke's IAFC. Although we have argued that the only real linkage is the display of their logo and the volunteer work done by this author, the case has obviously not been made strongly enough. And clearly this author was sympathetic to their cause. However, it is our opinion that WFN has been held back by this perception. In this editorial we wish to make the clear distinction and in fact make it clear that even those loose ties have now been cut. I have thought long and hard about whether to air our reasons, but in fairness to all our supporters, and all the people I have lobbied on behalf of Brian Clarke, I feel they deserve an explanation of how this decision has come about over the lifetime of WFN.
For many of the Australian Convicts players who toured South Africa in February, the clinics for kids was one of the highlights. Although the matches were fun, and the sightseeing impressive, the personal contact made in less-visited places was something special. After the tour many of the players also went on to visit other places in southern Africa, such as Cape Town, Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe and Zambia) and Chobe National Park in Botswana. Here we talk about the clinics, and note that the previous stories on the matches have been updated with photos.
Chicago has long been one of the stronger bases for Australian Rules Football in the USA. At times the growth of numbers there has been very encouraging, but as with many sports, politics can get in the road. A split emerged and a common way forward was not established. But in the past year there has been a convergence of ideas.