Community Spotlight – Fanny Maillet

From missing the Australia way of life to becoming the president of the Paris Cocks and volunteering in AFL Europe for 10 years, Fanny Maillet has been heavily involved with football across Europe.

Her journey with Australia Rules Football in Europe began back in 2008 after she had just returned from a year over in Australia and was missing the Australian lifestyle.

To try and reconnect with that lifestyle of “meeting new people all the time, drinking beers, chilling out outside and most of all, speaking English”, Fanny was told about the Paris Cocks, her local football side.

Along she went, and she was involved at a voluntary capacity with the club for the next 10 years.

“I never wanted to play (as I’m a swimmer), but I asked the president at the time what I could do to help and he told me they needed some money,” she said.

“So, I started a “buvette” (drinks and food) during each home game and I started looking for sponsors. I then joined the office, started the feminine section of the club, worked with our federation, volunteered with AFL Europe and became president of the Cocks.”

She retired last year, after 10 years of volunteering with the club, but she still has her membership and has offered to volunteer as a pitch manager for AFL Europe in 2019.

Joining the Paris Cocks was more about the social side to Fanny, as she has loved being involved with the team.

“I love watching AFL but definitely the social side attracted me to the Paris Cocks. The possibility of meeting people from all over the world and travelling with the team,” she said.

Being involved with the Cocks has also benefitted Fanny in her working career, as she has managed to get a job for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.

On top of the “buvette” and being head of the feminine section, some of the other tasks she was involved with at the Cocks included organising away trips, organising logistics at home games, responsible for social parties, and was one of the main women responsible for putting together the European Crusaders for the International Cup in 2017.

“We worked on this for over a year but being able to put a team together and to find sponsors who entirely paid for accommodation, food and equipment was probably one of my biggest achievements,” she said.

Being involved with the game for so long means Fanny has seen football evolve in Europe.

“I’m really confident they [AFL Europe] will continue to grow and more lights on AFL in Europe. Who knows, maybe the next big AFLW or AFL star will come from a European club!” Fanny said.

With her role in French football and also as an organiser of female football around Europe, Fanny helped organise the Gallia Cup, an all-female football tournament in Paris that was played on the 9thof March this year. It was a historic day for football, as it was the first female-only competition to be played in Europe.

Having stepped down from her volunteering roles at the Paris Cocks, Fanny will be missed along with her experience and passion for the game. However, she will still be around and involved with the game, which can only be a good game for the sport in France and also for her too as she does it for the love of being a part of the club.

Angus Boyle – AFL Europe