The AFL has been conducting some relatively secretive trials regarding a new format for footy involving a rectangular field and smaller sides.
With the AFL preparing to launch the concept in the pre finals bye, heres what we know.
- The AFL has confirmed it is looking to showcase the new version of the game between the best players from teams that miss this year’s finals series.
- Prizemoney and incentives are being discussed while matches which could be televised nationally on Fox Footy.
One concept under consideration would see clubs pay a fee to enter the inaugural AFLX event, with the entry fees pooled to help fund prizemoney.
- PLAYED on a soccer-size pitch. Trial games have been played between teams of seven players, with three on the interchange bench.
Played between two sides of seven, three on each interchange bench
- ONE umpire, no centre bounces and kick-ins from full-back after each goal.
- QUARTERS last 10 minutes.
There has been at least 3 trial runs of the game.
- The AFL trialled the concept with North Melbourne during the pre-season and made adjustments after a series of further practice matches between players from VFL sides.
- The Heraldsun reported on March 12th, that players from VFL teams Port Melbourne and Coburg faced off behind closed doors at Lakeside Stadium on a Friday night. In the trial, Port Melbourne and Coburg played four 10-minute quarters, two of them with eight players a side and two with seven.
Caroline Wilson reported in September 2016 that The AFL is facing legal action from a Melbourne entrepreneur who claims he took the AFL X concept to the league last year and filmed a trial of the modified game he titled “All-Star Football League”.
The man, who has worked on the project for almost three years, also presented the modified version of the AFL game to a number of network executives, including Channel Seven boss Lewis Martin, subsequently taking the concept to the league’s game and market development boss, Simon Lethlean. He presented the 30-page document to Lethlean alongside then Foxtel executive director Ben Buckley before holding further talks with other league officials who later ceased responding to his emails
It is understood the original trial was filmed in June 2014 at AAMI Park with A-grade amateur sides Old Trinity and De La Salle taking part. The AFL reportedly raised concerns that the concept could confuse the market as it was too similar to AFL 9s.
Michael Lynch wrote in Fairfax media last September that the AFL might have a fantasy about using soccer pitches to pioneer a new short form of the oval ball game, but unless millions of dollar are spent on developing new soccer infrastructure the chances of footy’s governing body getting its new concept up and running are limited, according to soccer officials. Soccer officials on Thursday reacted with surprise to reports about the AFL concept, suggesting there simply were not enough pitches and grounds in the country to sustain existing demand from burgeoning soccer clubs, never mind footy teams hoping to muscle in on the terrain.
The AFLs ownership of Etihad Stadium may have changed this somewhat.
David Koch and the AFL believe it will be the ideal format to transfer the game to China, where ovals are in short supply. Europe and the United States already have rectangular versions of the game – eurofooty and metro footy, and a standardised version of the game could well take off in those areas in line with the AFL vision. Either way, a rectangular version of the game should be easier to accommodate in areas where ovals are scarce.