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."
The first leg of Europe’s newest competition, the Western European Australian Football Women’s League (WEWL) was played last weekend with the French Gallia Cup incorporated into the competition and marking the starting point.
The Gallia Cup in its own right commenced in 2019, bringing together an invitation for women’s teams across Europe to play in the premier women’s competition. Designed initially for French women “to put the spotlight on women’s football in France”, last year’s incarnation would see teams from Switzerland, Netherlands, Germany and France unite.
Avec l'achèvement de la cinquième manche de la compétition CNFA en France, les Lions ALFA sont revenus à la charge de Premier ministre avec une puissante victoire de 35 points sur les Toreadors de Bayonne, qui n'avaient jamais été battus. La victoire place les Lions à la troisième place, à seulement deux tours de la finals.
Le match, disputé à Lyon, a été une formidable opportunité pour les Lions de prendre de la vitesse. Cette victoire, et potentiellement un autre tour suivant contre les Antony Blues, pourrait voir les Lions confirmés pour la finale.
Dans une saison où il n'y a pas d'équipe unique, tous les finalistes penseraient qu'ils ont une excellente opportunité de remporter le Premier ministre Leo Lagrange 2019/20.
Les espoirs de finale des Bombers de Bordeaux ont fait un autre grand pas vers la réalité lorsqu'ils ont battu le Stade Toulousain hier. La victoire voit les Bombers assis maintenant avec trois victoires de leurs trois matchs.
Ils doivent encore gagner au moins un match de plus pour assurer la finale, mais avec les matchs à l'extérieur contre les Cockerels de Paris et les Toreadors de Bayonne, les Bombers devront être à leur meilleur. S'ils le font, les Bombers pourraient bien entrer dans la course finale en tant que favoris du drapeau en fonction de la forme.
Dans un match qualifié de "serré et intense", le derby de Garonne (du nom de la rivière qui traverse les deux villes) est descendu au dernier quart serré avant que les Bombers ne tiennent à gagner par 15 points. Le score final a vu les Bombers de Bordeaux 91 battre le Stade Toulousain 76.
Just two weeks after many feared that Conor McKenna had opted to leave Essendon and answer the call of homesickness by returning permanently to Ireland, Mitch Cleary reports on the www.afl.com.au website that things are not what they seem.
Cleary states in a section of his review of the Bombers’ injury list that, “Conor McKenna could return to Tullamarine as soon as next week with Essendon confident the dashing defender can play round one without a pre-season hitout.”
“McKenna has been home in Ireland for more than a fortnight but has continued to maintain his fitness as he battles homesickness.”
Not really a tourism slogan (though it COULD be), most of Europe will come to life over the next few weeks after a winter slumber for most leagues and teams. Whilst the French CNFA competition and the National Universities League have kept going over winter, more sleeping dragons are awakening.
Setting that tone, next weekend sees the inaugural Dragon Cup in Wales on February 29th. Hosted by the Cardiff Panthers, the tournament will also feature the West London Wildcats and other teams as the Panthers hope to build the cup into an annual event.
The same day, the North London Lions will play Cambridge University in a practice match. A week later the Lions will follow up with a clash against Birmingham University.
Last season, the South Wales Universities women’s and men’s teams struggled on field in the inaugural National Universities Cup. Both finished on the bottom of their respective ladders, some distance behind the rest. The teams enjoyed just one win between them for the season.
Fast forward to 2020, and the South Wales women’s team has just completed a wonderful second season. They lost just one match for the season and will play in the grand final. The men’s team did not improve quite so dramatically, yet a quick look at their improved percentage via for and against results proves they have bridged the gaps.
According to the National Universities Cup Facebook page:
It has been a big day for the Amsterdam Devils, travelling from the Netherlands to participate in a series of friendlies against the Paris Cocks and Antony Blues at the home of the Blues, the Parc de Grenouillère, Antony. On the day, the Devils were far too good across all games for the French teams.
According to the Paris Cocks Facebook page, "A fantastic afternoon of footy yesterday at Antony!"
"Thank you to Amsterdam Devils and Antony Blues for your involvement, organisation, and spirit in what we hope will become an annual event."