AFL ASIA FORMED BY ASIAN FOOTY
AFL Asia is the governing body of Australian Rules Football within Asia.
The new body was created at a meeting attended by Asian football club presidents in Bangkok on 27 July 2013, and spearheaded by ex Vietnam Swans President Phil Johns, who became the founding President of the new organisation.
AFL Asia initially brought together 16 clubs from 11 countries in south-east and north-east Asia under the one umbrella organisation, and as of 2017 contains 18 member clubs containing 40+ teams and several regional leagues.
The establishment of AFL Asia in 2013 was the first step towards a formal affiliation with the Australian Football League (AFL). The AFL now deals with AFL Asia on a regular basis, often deferring to the current committee on football development within the region.
AFL Asia, as the regional alliance aims to:
- Greatly increase the visibility of footy in Asia
- Encourage and facilitate the development of local players
- Provide greater structure and coordination resulting in more footy
- Use Australia’s signature sport as a vehicle to promote Australian interests
- Provide a catalyst and ongoing interest for Asia’s growing alumni of former players
- Attract additional resources to support the above
Founding AFL Asia President Phil Johns had this to say about the establishment of AFL Asia:
“Historically Asian football clubs have been a collection of independent clubs that have achieved incredible things.
“For example, the Jakarta Bintangs conducts clinics in local schools four times per week for up to 100 students, while the Hong Kong Dragons and Singapore Sharks have 300 children enrolled in each of their Auskick and junior development programs.
“Clubs also conduct special memorial matches that are played on ANZAC Day weekend in Thailand, Borneo and Vietnam.
“For more than two decades, Australian Football in Asia has been powered by passion. By coming together it will significantly enhance our ability to drive greater outcomes.”
AFL International Development Manager Tony Woods welcomed the decision by Asia’s footy clubs to form AFL Asia.
“The AFL is very aware of footy clubs in Asia that have predominantly had expatriate Australian members. These Australians are well networked throughout the region and are passionate and committed to promoting footy across the region. They also have increasingly encouraged the participation of locals to play the game which is highlighted by the Singapore Wombats who have a local as captain and the Chinese development team in the SCAFL.
“The formation of a single entity, AFL Asia, will make it easier for the AFL to engage effectively in Asia. AFL Asia opens some very exciting possibilities,” Woods said.
AFL Asia hosts the AFL Asian Championships, held every year in October, which is the largest AFL tournament in Asia, being attended by almost all member clubs.
For current information about AFL Asia, please visit the website here.