The Australian Football League (AFL) is the pre-eminent professional competition of Australian rules football in Australia. Through the AFL Commission, the AFL also serves as the sport’s governing body, and is responsible for controlling the laws of the game. The league was founded as the Victorian Football League (VFL) as a breakaway from the previous Victorian Football Association (VFA), with its inaugural season commencing in 1897. Originally comprising only teams based in the Australian state of Victoria, the competition’s name was changed to the Australian Football League for the 1990 season, after expanding to other states throughout the 1980s.
The league currently consists of 18 teams spread over five of Australia’s six states (Tasmania being the exception). Matches have been played in all states and mainland territories of Australia, as well as in New Zealand and China (although no professional teams or leagues exist outside Australia) to promote the sport abroad. The AFL season currently consists of a pre-season competition (currently branded as the “JLT Community Series”), followed by a 23-round regular (or “home-and-away”) season, which runs during the Australian winter (March to September). The team with the best record after the home-and-away series is awarded the “minor premiership.” The top eight teams then play off in a four-round finals series, culminating in the AFL Grand Final, which is held at the Melbourne Cricket Ground each year. The grand final winner is termed the “premiers“, and is awarded the premiership cup. The current premiers are the West Coast Eagles.
AFL Women’s (AFLW) is Australia’s national Australian rules football league for female players. The first season of the league began in February 2017 with eight teams. The league is run by the Australian Football League(AFL) and is contested by a subset of clubs from that competition. The reigning premiers are the Western Bulldogs.