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This page is a quick snapshot of the status of Australian Football in France. For further information, browse our news items or use the search facility. If you wish to contact football officials from the country, please search our site for links to their leagues or clubs, including in our Atlas. If unsuccessful, we can normally assist with putting people in touch.
Approx population (2010): 65 million
National side: Les Bleus / Les Coqs
Governing body: Commission Nationale de Football Australien (CNFA)
Montpellier Fire Sharks
Primary contact / link: French Footy
WFN Census (2004): 2 senior teams, 30 players.
WFN World Ranking (2008): 19th
The history of Australian football in France dates back to occasional matches played by Australian soldiers in World War I.
Aussie Rules had been played sporadically in the 1990s by clubs in Paris and Normandy, with the formation of the first club, Houquetot in Normandy. With the support of the Australian embassy, the club became the Montivilliers in 1998 and was nickamed "Tasmania" in reference to the Australian state. The first game was played against Paris-based Australians in 1998, but the club disappeared the following year.
It wasn't until 2003-04 when the first stable teams began to appear, the first two being the primarily Australian-expat based Paris Cockerels and the mainly French Strasbourg Kangaroos. The first footy match on record between two 100% French teams was played in Strasbourg on 3 December 2005, with the hometown Kangaroos defeating the Senlis Razorbacks 91-17.
The Senlis Razorbacks and Cergy Cats were two other clubs founded in the Paris metro region in 2005, however they only lasted a short time. Likewise, the St Esteve Saints existed during 2006 in the southern city of Perpignan, but later folded.
However, a number of new clubs have sprung up since then, including teams in Bordeaux, Toulouse, Montpellier and a new club in Perpignan. There are interested people hoping to start clubs in cities such as Lyons, Marseille and Aix-en-Provence.
Owing to the large distances between clubs, there was no national league as such prior to the inaugural 2009 season, although Strasbourg competed in the Australian Football League Germany for 2006. The first Coupe de France Club Championship was held in Paris in 2008, with Paris, Strasbourg, Montpellier and Bordeaux taking part.
In 2009, the Perpignan Tigers, located close to the Spanish border, played a season in the Catalan AFL.
The current league season has shifted to a winter schedule, the 2009-10 season featuring 6 teams - all French clubs besides Strasbourg, and the Andorra Crows.
The French are currently considering sending a team to the IC11 in Melbourne. In the meantime there are plans to strengthen the national league and look for more cities to found new teams.
Other points of interest:
Last Updated: Friday, April 29 2011 @ 07:44 PM ACST|Hits: 2,228