Australian Football – An International Game

Australian football at an international level is often regarded with some amusement by the association football, rugby union and rugby league crowds, primarily because of its lack of competition outside the country, and because Australia generally doesnt partake in  the international scene outside of the occasional under 18 or under 16 tour.

For all that, the amateur Australian Football scene is thriving internationally.

Eighteen countries came to the recent International Cup in Melbourne, including the debut of Indonesia and Pakistan. Five countries entered the womens division – with the US and Canada supplying another two teams. The Competition was won by Papua New Guinea who defeated Ireland in the mens competition, and Canada who won over Ireland in the womens division.

The International Cup is a full length, 18 a side competition held on full size oval pitches.

Last weekend, Seventeen European countries competed in the Euro Cup competition which was held in London, with a record 5 countries entering womens teams. The competition was won by Denmark for the first time.

The Euro Cup is a nine a side competition played on rugby pitches with slighly tapered corners to give it an oval feel. Matches consist of 20 minute halves. In years where there is no International Cup, the Europeans also compete in the European Championships, an 18 a side tournament.

This weekend, the USAFL Nationals will be held in Dublin, Ohio. The US Nationals is the largest Australian football tournament in the world, and will feature almost 40 teams from across the United States and Canada. Including about 10 womens sides. In total, almost a thousand players will descend on the town for two days.

US nationals consist of 18 a side matches for the top 2 divisions, 16 a side for the middle two divisions and 14 a side for the bottom 2 divisions. They also play a lightning carnival format.

Further this weekend, AFL Asia is staging the Asian Championships. This is a ten team competition (eight countries plus Hong Kong and Macau) being played in the Phillipines, featuirng teams with admittedly large numbers of expats but a considerable number of locals as well. This is a sixteen a side competition, but allows for up to ten players on the bench.

At the end of November, the USAFL will stage its first College Championships since 2008. This will be a ten a side competition hosted by Texas A&M University.

So while Australia isnt participating at the International level outside of the International Rules, and while there are no professional competitions outside of Australia, theres still plenty of amatuer footy going on around the world.




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