After first going online in July/August of 2004, World Footy News has built up to an average of about 200 hits a day. Some times of year have been busier than others, depending on how much is going on out there in footy land - but overall, stats suggest that a core readership is developing of regulars who check by a couple of times a week.
One interesting statistic is where some of the readers seem to be coming from...
The votes are in - North Melbourne and St Kilda are the AFL sides with the greatest amount of support among the readers of World Footy News. There was some considerable distance between these two and third-place Collingwood. The Brisbane Lions finished last, one vote behind those who professed not to follow any team in the AFL.
In March 2004, the inaugral Australian Football Multicultural Cup was held, celebrating the achievments and contributions of Melbourne's ethnic communities to Aussie Rules. This year sees the cup return, with three Mediterranean sides in Greece, Italy and Turkey taking the field.
Over the next few weeks World Footy News will release region by region reviews of the 2004 census data collected to give a snapshot of the state of Australian football around the world. Our first article looks at the numbers in North America.
Like everyone else, World Footy News is deeply saddened by the massive disaster resulting from the earthquake and tsunamis in the Asia region, with well over 100,000 people confirmed dead. We take this moment to urge anyone who has not already made a donation and can afford to, to do so through agencies such as the Red Cross, United Nations or any other agency you think is appropriate.
It could be argued that many Australian football supporters know little of the true history of the game, and perhaps not many ponder its future. Most focus only on their own club, perhaps occasionally looking into its past, but rarely the bigger picture of the sport. There are lessons from the past, and the remarkable spread of the game overseas in some ways parallel its movement across Australia over many decades. Some would have us believe that the game has only ever been seriously played in the south east corner of Australia - they do a great injustice to many other major leagues, but also to their own sport, which has a rich and colourful tradition that spans well over a century across its native land. Similarly we need to recognise the emerging markets for footy in North America, Europe, Asia, the Pacific and other untapped regions. Opportunities should not be missed and left for later. If we seek lessons from the past, we might ensure the game's future, which some would argue is less than secure. The following article explores the historic beginnings of Australian Rules football through to the emergence of the AFL and the sport's growth around the world.
World Footy News has closed its third poll. The question asked was "What net effect do you think International Rules Football has on Aussie Rules internationally?" The results are now in on what our readers think of the Gaelic football / Australian football hybrid.
The International Australian Football Council has released details of a major overhaul of its structure, staffing, constitution and position in relation to the AFL and the AFL's stated position as world governing body. The following article is a release from the IAFC staff, as listed on their website. In the interests of transparency, please note that the author of this World Footy News story was heavily involved in the IAFC re-structure. Whilst I would prefer to be completely independent, international Australian football is still relatively small, so overlap is inevitable. I make it my highest priority to be unbiased. If anyone ever has any doubts about that, please contact me to discuss, as I would hate the credibility of this news service to be compromised.
Update: by early 2005 my views regarding the current incarnation of the IAFC had changed and I resigned my position and no longer advocate for them, nor support all the statements made below. It had become clear that the so-called IAFC was effectively not the same body as the original one, as member countries no longer supported it and had attempted to wind it up (whether that was done completely in a technical sense is debated but all our sources have confirmed it was a unanimous decision). What I had been lead to believe was the same IAFC was not supported by any countries with football leagues, not democratic (run by one self-appointed person) and not transparent in its deailngs, even with its own small number of volunteers.
Update: by 2006 all pretence of an existing IAFC appears to have been ended, hopefully closing an ugly and distracting chapter in Australian footy's attempts at internationalising.
These days plenty of expatriate Australians can claim to have played Australian football in more than one country, such as Australia and somewhere else. But few people have had the opportunity to play in established leagues in two countries, neither of which were the game's original home. Irishman John Enright is one such player, having grown up in Ireland, spent a year playing in the Ontario AFL in Canada, and now with a year under his belt with Leeside in the Irish league. worldfootynews.com thought John might have some unique insight into the state of the game in the two countries, and was pleased to interview this well-travelled football player.