Switzerland set for first official national tournament

After months of preparation and planning, this Sunday will see the first Swiss tournament take place between hosts the Winterthur Lions, and newly established clubs the Basel Dragons and Geneva Jets.

As a first for football in the nation, the 9-a-side tournament will act as the inaugural Australian Football competition in Switzerland, as the teams prepare for the first season of the Swiss League set to take place in 2019.

Captain of the Winterthur Lions Stefan Burgener told afleurope.org that it was an amazing feeling to have now established three clubs in the country.

“I feel proud of what we’ve been able to grow in this short period of time”, Stefan said.

“In August we were thrilled to have a single 7-v-7 match in Switzerland and now we have about 38 players across 3 teams who will be playing on Sunday.”

Prior to the announcement of the weekend’s competition, AFL in Switzerland had consisted of just one club which was the Winterthur Lions.

As a result, the Swiss national team could only pick players from just the one franchise for international fixtures.

Now with more players to choose from and more potential for growth and development than ever before, Stefan is looking forward to seeing more awareness around the sport in 2019.

“I think this will grow awareness even further and help gather interest in the new Swiss League which will be played from May – September next year,” Stefan said.

“They both (Basel and Geneva) particularly since August this year, have been working tirelessly to grow a base of players and committee members for their respective clubs.”

“Now that the league has been established, we aim to establish more clubs in Switzerland and to improve our Men’s national team.”

 

Having played exhibition fixtures prior to Sunday’s official tournament, the Winterthur Lions will now play regular matches in 2019.

 

With the league now set to take place next summer, Stefan also mentioned to afleurope.org that the nation is trying to build up the women’s game in preparation for next year’s Euro Cup to be held in Norrtälje, Sweden.

“We also aim to hold as many women’s matches as possible and start a new women’s national team to compete alongside the men’s team at the Euro Cup in Sweden next June”, Stefan said.

“I’m excited for what the future holds.”

 

The Swiss Tournament kicks off at 1:30pm local time on Sunday.

For more information, please visit the official event page here.

 

Swiss Tournament Fixtures:

13:30: Winterthur vs. Basel

14:30: Winterthur vs. Geneva

15:30: Geneva vs. Basel

Birmingham, Oxford and Cambridge ready for inaugural University League

The AFL England National University League kicks off this weekend as Birmingham and Oxford attempt to upset favourites Cambridge in the inaugural season of the competition.

With men’s and womens fixtures, the tournament will be a first for Australian Football in Europe as the game attempts to spread around colleges and universities across the continent.

Co-captain of the Cambridge women’s side Heather Muir told afleurope.org that her side are buzzing in the lead-up to the competition.

“We’ve got our boots, and our uniforms, and we’re both looking and feeling ready,” said Heather.

“There’s a real buzz amongst the team heading into what will be the first AFL game for many of our women’s players.”

With steady growth in 2018, Heather said her team is looking forward to showcasing their improvement this Saturday.

“From the ground level I’d say the team is proving fit, and our basic skills are improving week to week with thanks to head coach Dave, and our consistently excellent turn out to Sunday trainings,” said Heather.

“It (the competition) definitely gives us more of a chance to convince mates in Cambridge to come watch us play!”

“Standing on the side-lines in cold English weather, watching a fairly foreign game you tried to pitch as ‘kind of like rugby’, requires either very supportive friends, or a very enticing and exciting league.”

“Let’s hope for both!

Men’s skipper Reece Digance is also optimistic about his side leading into the weekend’s encounters.

“The players are really looking forward to the new format,” said Reece.

“We have a lot of new players who are new to the game and improving at each session.”

“This new league gives them an opportunity to play more games which is great.”

After going through a 5-week training program in Newnham College, Reece said his team will embrace the competitive fixtures on Saturday.

“Traditionally we have a big on field rivalry with Oxford and I dare say this will continue on the weekend,” said Reece.

“It’s hard to say a favourite for the cup because the teams change a bit year on year.”

“Although, from what I saw last year Birmingham will be tough to beat.”

With the league set to drive interest in Australian Football throughout universities and colleges across the continent, Cambridge Vice-President Mitch Baker said the new format will bring institutions more exposure and relevance among the university sports market moving forward.

“The start of a National League is a big positive,” Mitch said.

“We know university students wish to compete against other Universities in a more structured style.”

“This Tournament and League delivers just that, I think we’ll see this league develop quickly from this.”

“We look forward to getting members and their friends down to see the game live and generate the interest moving forward.”

For more information on the first round of action, visit the official event page here.

Saturday 10th of November

11:00-11:40

Women’s Division: Cambridge vs Birmingham

11:50-12:30

Men’s Division: Cambridge vs Oxford

12:40-1:20

Women’s Division: Birmingham vs Oxford

1:30-2:10

Men’s Division: Birmingham vs Oxford

2:20-3:00

Women’s Division: Cambridge vs Oxford

3:10-3:50

Men’s Division: Cambridge vs Birmingham

 

Become an AFL Europe Umpire

AFL Europe are on the hunt for umpires in preparation for 2019.

With over 20+ countries playing regular games of footy, the demand for umpires is increasing and we would love you to be involved.

As an AFL Europe umpire, you could have the chance to umpire in Amsterdam for the Champions League, in Norrtälje for Euro Cup and London for the European Championships.

You’ll also learn from some of the best in the business and be a key figure for Australian Football in your respective region.

For more information, please visit afleurope.org/umpire and register your interest with us today!

 

AFL Europe 2019 Internship Program

AFL Europe are now accepting applications to join our team as part of our Internship Program for 2019.

The role revolves around delivering the AFL Europe communications plan. This includes both written and video content to be published on our website and social media platforms as highlighted in the attached Job Description below.

To apply for the position, please send your CV and cover letter to admin@afleurope.org by Friday, November 23rd 2018 to be considered.

AFL Europe Intern (Digital Content) – Job Description

 

ANZAC Cup 2019 Applications Now Open!

AFL Europe is thrilled to announce that applications are now open for the Australian Spirit and Umpiring team to participate in the 11th Annual ANZAC Cup in Villers-Bretonneux, France.

The small town of Villers-Bretonneux in Northern France has a strong connection with Australian Armed Forces. On 24th April 1918, the town was captured by German forces. Overnight the Australian troops retaliated and by dawn on the 25th April 1918, the town had been retaken.

The ANZAC Cup is played between the Australian Spirit team and French national sides for both men and women and is part of the annual ‘Australia Week’ celebrations held in Villers-Bretonneux in the lead up to ANZAC Day.

Players and umpires will be expected to arrive in VB on Wednesday 24th of April to attend the Dawn Service on ANZAC Day. Matches will be played on Saturday, April 27th with teams departing VB the following day.

Members of the Australian Spirit men’s and women’s sides at the Australian War Memorial in VB.

The ANZAC Cup fee is £100 per player and includes a full playing kit and billeted accommodation for the duration of their stay.

Applications are welcome from any Australian or New Zealander with selection for the event emphasised on a player’s personal connection to WW1 and the Armed Forces and not just purely football/umpire ability.

Players/Umpires interested in applying for the 11th Annual ANZAC Cup should express interest to lily.beck@afleurope.org to receive an information sheet and application form.

Application forms must be returned by Saturday 1st December to be considered.

Will Taylor – AFL Europe

Croatians to take on Norwood FC

In a first for footy in Europe, South Australian National Football League (SANFL) side the Norwood Football Club will play the Croatian men’s and women’s national teams in a friendly fixtures this weekend in Biograd na Moru.

The Redlegs have made their way over to Croatia to start their pre-season training camp that will involve a fixtures against the Croatian Knights  and Croatian Queens this Sunday.

Coach of the Croatian men’s side Ivan Molnar said the “squad is excited and they are looking forward to the experience”.

“It feels great and it makes us very proud,” Ivan said.

“For me it crowns all the hard work that our association has been doing on development of Australian Football in Croatia in the last decade.”

The connection with Norwood comes from the time Croatian superstar Tomislav Cvetko has spent with the club in Adelaide as both a listed player and a Project/Coaching Clinics assistant.

In 2018, the Redlegs had a very successful year finishing the season as runners-up to North Adelaide in a very competitive SANFL Grand Final.

As one of the powerhouses of Australian Football in South Australia, Ivan is looking forward to seeing his team learn from these professional athletes.

“The squad is feeling excited and we are looking forward to this experience,” Ivan said.

“It is not often that you have the chance to play against the professional players.”

“We also hope it will help in the promotion of the sport.”

Norwood FC on the first day of their training camp in Biograd.

Aside from the games, the Croatians are ensuring the hosts are well looked after during their stay in Biograd.

It’s their hope that a successful visit from the Redlegs could help encourage other teams to visit Croatia for similar types of camps in the future.

“We have also organised some things for them to do beside training like a visit to the national park,” Ivan said.

“The most important part is that our guests leave Croatia happy and with some nice memories.”

“Who knows maybe they are not the last club to come to visit us for preparations?”

After arriving in Croatia on Monday, the Norwood squad will spend ten days in the nation before returning to Australia at the end of the month.

The matches between the Croatians and Norwood FC will take place from 1:30pm local time this Sunday. 

Will Taylor – AFL Europe

Nic Nat makes his way to Tel Aviv training

On holiday in Israel, Nic Naitanui may of found his favourite Australian Football club in Europe.

Last night in Tel Aviv, the West Coast Eagles star attended a training session run by the Tel Aviv Cheetahs.

Captain of the Cheetahs, Shir Shalev, said the visit from Nic Nat was something the players will not forget for a very long time.

“The boys were obviously very excited about meeting him and having him come to our pitch for the practice,” Shir said. 

“I think the first thing you notice about him is how humble he is, and that’s really heartwarming considering his impressive career and achievements.”

“He is a very nice a guy, and it was a great honour for all of us to meet such a legend!”

Selected in the 2012 All-Australian side, Naitanui has currently played 161 games for the Eagles across his ten-year AFL career to date.

As one of the best players in his position across the competition, Shir told AFL Europe the words of wisdom from Naitanui will hold the team in good stead moving forward.

“An encounter like this brings a great boost of energy and motivation for all of us,” Shir said.

“We got about 50 people attending because of Nic Nat’s appearance which is higher than the usual turnover. His visit definitely helped us with spreading the word about the team and attracting new people.”

“Nic Naitanui is such a great role model and not just for athletes, proving that the hard work and humility will take you far in life.”

“And this experience really encouraged us to work and train harder for the years to come.”

As for whether Naitanui is now a Cheetahs supporter?

“We’ve presented him with our team’s guernsey,” Shir said.

“So he is now officially the newest Cheetah in the fold.”

Will Taylor – AFL Europe

Prince of Wales Signs On with AFL Europe

AFL Europe is thrilled to announce that His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales, has extended his patronage of the organisation.

His Royal Highness developed a fondness for the sport during his time at Geelong Grammar in 1966 and became Patron of AFL Europe in August 2013.

His Royal Highnesses’ passion lies particularly in the games ability to facilitate development in young people, and the benefits of over 4,000 juniors participating in Australian Rules programs throughout the UK and Europe.

AFL Europe General Manager, Ryan Davey, says that the support of The Prince of Wales will provide another great boost to the organisation as the code continues to expand its footprint throughout the UK and Europe.

“We were hopeful that His Royal Highness would be able to continue his affiliation of AFL Europe, but we’re also aware that he often has to relinquish these roles in order to take on the new ones which arise constantly, so for him to extend his patronage is extremely exciting,” Davey said

The Prince of Wales was on hand ahead of the 10th Annual ANZAC Cup in Villers-Bretonneux earlier in the year, where he received a personalised Australian ‘Spirit Team’ guernsey to mark his 70th birthday, and Davey says AFL Europe hope to continue strengthening the existing relationship with His Royal Highness and Clarence House.

“We are certainly extremely grateful to have the backing of the Prince of Wales, and his support is a testament to the hard work that is going on by the passionate people on the ground right around Europe,” Davey said.

Riley Brettell – AFL Europe

Dan Jackson joins AFL Europe Commission

After the hugely successful running of Euro Cup 2018 last weekend, AFL Europe is thrilled to be able to deliver more good news with the announcement that former Richmond Tiger, Dan Jackson, will be joining the AFL Europe commission.

Chairman Oliver Howard made the announcement at Sundays Annual General Meeting in Cork, and says that Jackson “will be a great addition to the AFL Europe team.”

“The entire AFL Europe community will benefit hugely from of all Dan’s experience, as an 11-year player and Best & Fairest winner at Richmond, the inaugural winner of the Jim Stynes Community and Leadership Award in 2012 for his work with a number of community programs, and his time as a board member of the AFL Players Association,” Howard said.

Jackson accepts the inaugural Jim Stynes Community Leadership Award from the late Jim Stynes.

“In addition to his standout AFL career, Dan has a demonstrated history of supporting grassroots and international footy, having helped coach the French national team at the IC2011 and IC2014 and since retiring has worked with the Canadian national women’s team and numerous club teams in Canada, the USA, England and France.”

Jackson, who will balance his commission duties with his work with Foundation Performance and masters of performance psychology studies in Edinburgh, said that he looks forward to working with those on the ground around the continent to drive the growth of the game.

“I’m really excited to get on board with AFL Europe,” said the 2013 Jack Dyer Medalist.

Jackson in his playing days at Punt Road

“Having spent some time coaching teams in France, Canada, US and UK over the last few years I’ve seen first-hand the passion and energy foreign players bring to our game and I look forward to helping where I can.”

Jackson joins the commission in place of former Chairman, Chris Dow, who will step down after six years serving to focus on his family and work commitments.

“Chris has been a huge reason for the success of AFL Europe and his relentless drive and passion has ensured the continued growth of footy in Europe,” Howard said.

“Chris has always been an amazing leader and mentor to all of us and there’s no doubt he will be greatly missed.”

AFL Europe’s 2018 Annual Report and minutes from the AGM will be published on www.afleurope.org prior to the 14th November.

Champions League 2019 Announcement

AFL Europe are thrilled to announce that next year’s Champions League will once again be held in Amsterdam on the 6th of April, 2019.

This will be the fifth consecutive year Amsterdam has hosted the AFL Europe event since the inaugural competition in 2015.

Europe’s premier international club competition will bring together the best teams from around Europe in their quest of becoming club champions of the continent.

Hosted by AFL Europe in conjunction with AFL Netherlands and the Amsterdam Devils, the continent’s feature tournament of its type will remain at the Sportpark De Eendracht complex.

Both Grand Final’s will be played at the complex’s marquee venue, the National Rugby Centre Stadium (NRCA Stadium), home of the Netherlands national rugby team.

AFL General Manager Ryan Davey said the announcement “illustrates the outstanding success of previous Champions League competitions.”

“These events take considerable time and effort and I would like to thank AFL Netherlands and the Amsterdam Devils for their continued support in growing the game of Australian Football within Europe.”

“AFL Europe are confident that next year’s competition will once again showcase some of the best talent from some of the best clubs across the European continent.”

“We are very excited to work alongside all staff involved to ensure the 2019 Champions League is another rousing success.”

Confirmation of next year’s Champions League date finalises an exciting line-up of events on the AFL Europe calendar in 2019.

Following the Champions League, the annual Euro Cup tournament will be held in Nörrtalje, Sweden in June.

Four months later in October, the European Championships, AFL Europe’s premier 18-a-side international tournament, will be held in London.

For more information on the Champions League for 2019, keep up to date with afleurope.org and follow AFL Europe on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for the latest updates.

Champions League 2019

Amsterdam, Netherlands

6th of April

Hosted by AFL Europe in conjunction with AFL Netherlands and Amsterdam Devils

Will Taylor – AFL Europe