AFL Chairman Mike Fitzpatrick, head of the AFL Commission and the man who fast-tracked the entry of the Gold Coast and GWS clubs, is in China as part of the AFL's promotion of the sport ahead of the Kaspersky Cup between Brisbane and Melbourne. Fitzpatrick said that "Our game is 150 years old but this Sunday we will play our first ever match here in Shanghai," he said. "To quote an old Chinese proverb: 'A journey of a thousand miles begins with one small step'. Tomorrow we take that step."
Various clinics have been held with school children and an AFL talent combine. Some photos of the events so far can be seen here.
Sri Lankan English-language newspaper The Daily Mirror is reporting that a group of AFL officials recently met with the country's Minister of Internal Trade & Cooperatives, Mr Johsnton Fernando. The meeting, which was arranged by Manel Dharmakeerthie, discussed how best to promote Australian Football in Sri Lanka.
Dharmakeerthie is known in South Asia for his involvement with the Chinese sport of Wushu. He is now working closely with Milton Amarasinghe, a former Director General of Sports, to develop Australian Football in Sri Lanka. Their first aim is a tournament to be held in 2011. Fernando was supportive of their plans, and has agreed to offer, "his fullest support to develop footy (in Sri Lanka)."
Several current and former AFL players were also present at the meeting, including the AFL's new International Ambassador, Brett Kirk. The players are in Sri Lanka to learn more about that country's indigenous Vadda people and their place in Sri Lankan society, in an attempt to assist Australia's own indigenous communities upon their return.
An exciting feature of the Kaspersky Cup AFL match between Melbourne and the Brisbane Lions is that China will take on a development squad from Japan in the curtain raiser. It's fair to say there's long been a strong rivalry between these two countries and not only does the proximity give China an obvious local opponent, it also could help give the Japanese league a boost.
Japan are sending an Under 21 team for the match, which should provide a good 9-a-side contest. Japan's full squad are ranked 14th in our unofficial world rankings, with China notionally one spot ahead, but not yet playing enough games to qualify. The Samurai's are bringing 13 players and 5 officials. China's players will be roughly 50-50 from Beijing and Shanghai.
Two days prior to the match, which is part of the World Expo, the AFL will stage its first ever "Asia Combine" (using the new description the AFL is using for draft camp style sessions). This will be held at Shanghai University of Sport (very close to Jiangwan Stadium) and will have a number of staff present with AFL high performance experience. There will be testing of athletes and a number of drills and activities aimed at gaining further experience in Australian Football. All participants of the curtain raiser match have been encouraged to attend.
The Melbourne Football Club will embark on a 14-day tour of China, highlighted by The Kaspersky Cup Shanghai Showdown match between The Demons and the Brisbane Lions at Jiangwan Stadium on Sunday.
The Club will depart Melbourne on Sunday October 10 returning on Saturday 23. The touring party of 130 includes the full playing list, football department and all administration staff. This is believed to be the biggest ever overseas trip conducted by an AFL club. Melbourne’s key destinations include Moganshan, Shanghai, Beijing and Hong Kong.
Woodside Energy, one of Australia’s major energy exporters to Asia, has agreed to become a major sponsor of the Australian Football League’s first ever match in China. Woodside will be an associate partner of the Kaspersky Cup, AFL Shanghai Showdown between Melbourne and the Brisbane Lions, which will be played at the Jiangwan Sports Centre in Shanghai on Sunday, October 17.
Woodside Senior Vice President, Corporate, Tina Thomas, said the match provided an ideal opportunity to showcase the company’s support for Australian football in one of its major customer countries. Since 2006 Woodside has been exporting liquefied natural gas to China from the North West Shelf Venture under a 25-year contract.
The company, which has an office in Beijing, is in discussions with Chinese customers about potential supplies from Woodside’s wider portfolio of projects and developments.
The annual Asian Championships of Australian Football will be held in Shanghai on Saturday week, with an encouraging twelve teams to take part, a two-team increase on the previous year's event. All of last year's teams will be present, although Bali and Jakarta are consolidated as Indonesia. Joining them are the Japan Goannas, Macau Lightning and the Asian Barbarians.
Dubai Heat, aiming to win their third consecutive title, are the hot favourites. They're taking the tournament very seriously, withdrawing from the upcoming AFL Middle East season, apparently in an effort to focus on the "greater prize". This is a big statement considering the Heat are reigning AFL ME Premiers.
The chief executive of the AFL Andrew Demetriou made the announcement in Melbourne. In a first for Australian sport, the Shanghai Media Group (SMG) will televise one AFL match every week live into China on International Channel Shanghai (ICS). The agreement will include the 2010 Toyota AFL finals series, including the Toyota AFL Grand Final, and the Kaspersky Cup – AFL Shanghai Showdown between Melbourne and the Brisbane Lions in Shanghai on October 17.
It will extend into the 2011 Toyota AFL Premiership season to include one AFL match each week. The agreement was made possible after the ABC and SMG recently signed a co-operation agreement between their international channels, Australia Network and ICS. As part of the agreement, ICS will produce a pre-match program to precede the broadcast of each match to give viewers information about AFL.
The AFL has launched a new Chinese website ahead of the first AFL match to be played in Shanghai between Melbourne and the Brisbane Lions in October. The Mandarin-speaking website, www.51afl.com ( translates to `I want AFL’) has already attracted more than 12,000 visitors in its first two weeks, with more than 10,000 visitors from mainland China.
The website will be used to help promote the Kaspersky Cup – AFL Shanghai Showdown between Melbourne and the Brisbane Lions at Jiangwan Stadium on October 17. Up to 10,000 people are expected to attend the match which coincides with World Expo.
On July 31st, the Cambodian Cobras will host the Vietnam Swans in Phnom Penh, in what the new Cobras hope will be the beginnings of a regular Cambodian presence on the Asian footy circuit.
Wearing Adelaide Crows jumpers with an added Cobra logo, the new club is the third team to kick the footy in Cambodia, after the Cambodia Crocs and Cambodia Kangas formed for tournaments in the past.
The Swans are reportedly excited to help their neighbours to help generate the interest and motivation at the new club, as they have also done in their friendly rivalry with the Lao Elephants.
The 2010 Asian Championships will this year be held in China for the first time, kicking off in Shanghai on October 16th in conjunction with the Melbourne vs Brisbane AFL exhibition match at the World Expo. League CEO Andrew Demetriou will be in attendance and meeting with all the Asian footy clubs at the Championships.