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.
As the United States of America struggles with the devastation wrought by COVID-19, all facets of community are still looking ahead to life beyond the virus. The USAFL also has its eyes on a future after coronavirus and a new update from the USAFL Executive Board to club presidents addresses their vision and steps required to get there.
The following excerpts from the release paint a hopeful picture, whilst acknowledging that much has to yet happen in the nation with regard to control of the disease, including eradication, and that the situation is still evolving on a daily basis.
“We are still hoping that we will be able to play tournament footy within the coming months. Therefore, our current plan is for the USAFL to support and promote smaller local tournaments, once it is safe and permitted to do so, later in the summer and fall.”
Whilst the AFL is yet to formally state how and when the AFL season can restart after the enforced season postponement due to COVID-19, two northern cities might be the keys to fast tracking a start date.
Darwin has emerged as a potential location for a player hub (where all teams would be based for a set period of time to play out rounds) with its potential to have matches played in front of crowds as early as June. Cairns has also emerged as a potential hub for matches and teams with AFL Cairns having confirmed its interest in playing that role.
Both cities possess multiple venues, milder winter conditions than the colder southern states, strong following of the game and, most importantly, have low cases of COVID-19. The Northern Territory had recorded just 28 cases, whilst Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service had reported 33 cases. Both figures are extremely low compared to the major Australian cities.
Discussions that have been raging already, and are now accelerating, regarding size of player lists, player payments and the impacts on rookie-listed players are the focus of Marc McGowan’s latest story on the www.afl.com.au website.
The issues being raised may yet have a huge impact on how clubs look at recruiting international players to their lists, with players from Ireland and the United States impacted as well as potential newer markets
CLUBS remain in the dark about where – or if – Category B rookies will fit into the potential new list structure from next year.
As AFL.com.au reported on Thursday, list and football bosses are generally accepting there will need to be reduced list sizes for 2021 but most are keen for a gradual rather than drastic cut.
The following exerts from Riley Beveridge’s article on the http://www.afl.com.au website look at a fifth ex-AFL player, former Saint Arryn Siposs, making the transition to the NFL in the United States.
Whilst there is an increasing number of players from Australian Football backgrounds finding success in American Football, such as Nik Constantinou From Australian Rules Footy To American Football, only a handful of athletes can claim to have played both AFL and NFL.
According to Beveridge, “Former St Kilda forward Arryn Siposs is on the verge of becoming the fifth ex-AFL player to realise his NFL dream, signing as an undrafted free agent to the Detroit Lions on Sunday morning.”
If you are like me, you are missing your footy fix. Yes, there are countless replays on television. Yes, there are games that can be purchased and played from the bedroom. Yes, there are books to read, videos to watch, footy cards to collect and lots more.
However, sometimes you want something more tactile. More hands on. Something you control.
So, here is something from my childhood that might come in handy. I didn’t invent it. My grandfather showed me how to do this – something he picked up during the war years in the 40’s and passed on to me. Pencil footy.
If interested in a new (yet old) way of passing these COVID days waiting for the AFL to come back, or your local team to start playing again, follow these step by step instructions. I will also put the photo at the end of the article also to enlarge.
Whilst their would be no ANZAC Cup today at Villers-Bretonneaux in France, or a myriad of other matches and events around the world that would normally honour ANZAC Day and those who fought and died in war, on lone bugler stood in the middle of the MCG today playing his bugle in an emotional message to the world.
John Mansfield, a member of the army reserve since 1990, always held a dream to play The Last Post in front of almost 100,000 fans one day for the ANZAC Day clash between Collingwood and Essendon. Today, he alone graced the expanses of the MCG to recite the Ode Of Remembrance and play The Last Post.
The following clip from the Essendon Football Club website shows the stirring occasion.
On face value, the answer to this question will be a resounding yes. When framed against the eventual return of the game at all levels, a large majority of people will proudly boast their love of the game, their sadness over its brief disappearance, impatience for its return and excitement in anticipation of that day.
Most people are counting the days, even if they don’t yet know how many days to count.
However, lurking beneath the surface of this emotion is another realisation. Many people at all levels of society have stated that the world will not be the same in the wake of COVID-19. Aspects of life which we had previously taken for granted have changed already and may never return – at least never return exactly as we remembered them.
An example would be the accepted concept that Australia’s freedom would never see state borders closed. Already that myth is dispelled and could happen again should any other disease threaten.
Back in the aftermath of Round 1, before the AFL had to suspend the 2020 season, American sports commentator Pat McAfee expressed a love for our game. Sporting codes across his own nation had already been in recess leaving little to watch. AFL games filled the Fox Sports void and McAfee became a convert.
The clip below sees Collingwood's "American Pie" spend time explaining the finer points of our game to McAfee. The result is definitely worth watching, and could lead to even greater awareness of our game across the United States.
The following story from Marc McGowan at the www.afl.com.au website is an excellent look back at Mason Cox’s AFL career and the journey to get to where he is today, starting back in the United States. Cox has already enjoyed an almost unexpectedly impactful career, and is likely to leave a great legacy for future prospective players from America.
Mason Cox's unlikely journey from end-of-the-rotation college basketballer to playing on Australian Football's biggest stages has won him fame he never thought possible.
Remember, this is a guy who'd never heard of the AFL and travelled to Australia to meet five clubs, unsure whether the competition was "like an eastern European basketball league that could fall over after a year".
Few football fans will forget Cox's performance from the 2018 preliminary final, where he became the Richmond slayer with a match-winning four-goal effort.
To kick off a series of articles from around the world that look at footy life in COVID-19 times, this story looks at some aspects of footy life in Far North Queensland. It is hoped this story may trigger more stories from people, clubs and leagues across the world as they negotiate events unthought-of at the end of their last seasons.
On my way home from work last week I dropped by the home ground of my former club, Gordonvale's Power Park. It is the home of the Pyramid Power club, set in canefields and overlooked by the mighty Walsh’s Pyramid. It is, in a word, beautiful.
It was around five o’clock – a time when junior footy training would be under way in the first week of April, preparing for the first matches for the new season.
Today, however, the ground was devoid of kids. Only teams of plovers graced the playing surface. Seeming to enjoy themselves, it wasn’t clear who was winning. Perhaps, for them it wasn’t about that – it was about fun.
Nobody could have predicted, even as recently as the AFL Middle East grand final just a few weeks ago, that the football world would come to a premature end, along with many other aspects of daily life, due to the spread of COVID-19. Not only has the live footy - at grounds or on television - been put on hold, but so has the simple kick in a park or even a neighbour's yard.
People across the world are missing their sport.
But that doesn't mean that there aren't stories to be told and shared. Our worldwide footy community, whilst in an enforced hibernation, still craves stories. Reading about the exploits of others might just be a handy, temporary antidote for feelings of loss, loneliness, confusion, despair or just to scratch that niggling itch.
World Footy News invites all leagues, clubs or individuals to tell us their stories and we will put together articles to be shared across the international footy community. Anything at all with a footy link can be sent - serious or funny, informative or just plainly bizarre - as long as footy is at its heart.