The following is an extract from an AFL Europe story by James Brosnan at www.afleurope.org looking at the development and future of the Waterland Eagles – the newest AFL Netherlands team. It is a part of AFL Europe’s “Newest Team In Town” column looking at up and coming clubs across Europe.
THE Waterland Eagles are back training following the COVID-19 lockdown and hoping to go one better when the AFL Netherlands season commences later this year.
The Eagles finished their debut season in the grand final of the Dutch competition, losing to current European Champions, the Amsterdam Devils.
The Eagles were full of enthusiasm heading into their second competitive season as a club and have been encouraged by three weeks of training post lockdown according to Eagles president, Neil Cooke.
For decades, the AFL’s 18 clubs have survived due to two key factors – television rights and supporter membership. The Perpignan Tigers in southern France have opted to take a leaf from the AFL’s book and attract their own members.
This is a first in France where a club has turned to its own supporters to become members of the club and help support the club financially.
As noted by the club, traditional sponsorship for clubs has become very difficult in COVID-19 times. Businesses all over the world, and certainly in France, are doing things tough. Many are simply unable to operate at all and with no revenue they don’t have the ability to set aside funds for sponsoring. Other businesses have put off staff and trimmed back every possible cost to try and remain viable.
Callum Twomey and Mitch Cleary from the www.afl.com.au have reported on the return of the various Irish players acros the AFL who went home during the COVID-19 shutdown and have returned for Round 2 next month.
Whilst Essendon’s Conor McKenna returned last week, players from Collingwood, Brisbane, Essendon and GWS arrive back in Australia this weekend.
The remaining six players in Ireland will return to Australia this weekend to resume their AFL careers after winning visa approval to re-enter the country.
Collingwood pair Mark Keane and Anton Tohill, Essendon duo Cian McBride and Ross McQuillan, Brisbane's James Madden and Greater Western Sydney's Callum Brown are all set to jet back to Australia on Saturday.
Peter Leahy, a leading Gaelic Football manager with the Mayo inter-county women’s team has drawn a line in the stand regarding players having to choose between their Gaelic Football careers in Ireland or an AFLW career in Australia.
Earlier this year, Emma Duffy from The 42 website wrote an article which highlighted this same battle between codes (see Choosing Isn’t Fair – AFLW v Ladies Football) and there is no end in sight. The following article by Marc McGowan at the www.afl.com.au website looks again at this issue, four months on. The stalemate continues, with Peter Leahy not backing down on the issue and AFLW clubs, along with CrossCoders still pursuing more women to come and play in Australia.
ONE OF the leading managers in Gaelic women's football is threatening not to select Irish players if they choose to pursue an AFLW career.
There is no roaring yet, but certainly a very low growl coming from the south of France. It is the growl of the Perpignan Tigers, a team which has found it difficult in recent years to keep their team on the playing fields of the CNFA, but a team that has also never stopped trying.
France, as a nation, is facing the unenviable task of being one of the nations hardest hit by the impact of COVID-19. Along with their neighbours, Spain and Italy, France has seen unprecedented pandemic cases and tragic loss of life. In this environment, football rightly remains a low priority.
However, pending France’s ability to contain COVID-19 and the ability of the population to prevail and regroup, the 2020/21 CNFA season will likely go ahead as planned around October – still five months away. With that in mind, most clubs still have an eye on being prepared for what lies beyond the darkness of the coronavirus tragedy.
Callum Twomey reports on the www.afl.com.au website that Essendon’s Conor McKenna and a host of other Irish players who returned back to their home country during the AFL shutdown are returning ready for Round 2.
ESSENDON speedster Conor McKenna will arrive back in Melbourne on Saturday for what could be his last season in the AFL facing a complicated race to be ready for round two.
McKenna, like Essendon's other two Irishmen Cian McBride and Ross McQuillan, headed back to their homeland in March after the season was suspended due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
He is due back in Australia on Saturday evening but then has to enter a strict 14-day quarantine period like other overseas travellers returning to the country.
The Leeside Lions, one of the AFL Ireland clubs in hiatus due to COVID-19, have shown the world a way out by adroitly combining social-distancing with football skills. The following clip from the Cork-based club showcases a range of talents and proves footy can still move forward despite current challenges to the game. Our thanks to the Leeside Lions for sharing.
Across Europe, clubs, leagues and governing bodies are gradually preparing for football after the COVID-19 threat has eased sufficiently to consider resuming training and matches. The situation is different for each nation, and subsequently for the leagues and clubs in those nations, and AFL Switzerland has already announced its plans for a return to the playing fields.
In a message to all players, officials and teams across Switzerland, the national league has released the blueprint for the remainder of the 2020 season.
Initially conceding the round of matches (originally Round 2) on 9th May in Zurich, most of the remainder of the original season is intact. With a rider that things could change should the nations recovery from the disease be slowed, the league proposes the following.
AFL Europe has announced that the 2020 Euro Cup, set for Stirling in Scotland, has been postponed to a date later in 2020. This is pending the ongoing advice on the progress of COVID-19. A new date is yet to be set, though the Scottish city of Stirling cannot accommodate a new date.
AFL Europe is currently looking at other options across Europe to host the postponed event. AFL Scotland has been told that they will now host the 2010 Euro Cup instead. According to AFL Europe, “due to a lack of field and venue availability in Stirling in the second half of the year, AFL Europe will be sourcing an alternate location for the rescheduled 2020 event.”
“Given this, AFL Scotland has been automatically granted the rights to host the Euro Cup in Summer 2021”. It is yet to be determined if Stirling will be that venue.
As leagues across Europe and the world respond to the threat of Coronavirus, AFL Ireland has just announced it's own measures. In a statement released today, AFL Ireland states:
"In light of recent events, AFL Ireland and AFL Ireland Women's will be following the Government's guidelines and suspending all activity at club, university and international level until March 29th at the earliest.
We will be taking an all island approach to protect all our members on the island of Ireland.
This includes all games, training sessions and scheduled events.
We will continue to follow the guidelines during this ever changing period and will assess the impact these measures have on our competitions and events.
We encourage all of our members to continue to follow the guidelines laid out by the health authorities."