AFL Asia is the International Association of AFL Clubs in Asia, overseeing and coordinating Australian Rules Football development in Asia. AFL Asia has primary responsibility for the AFL Asian Championships.

AFL Asia currently consists of 18 member clubs, overseeing 40+ Asian based Australian Football teams and several organised regional Leagues, mentioned below.

AFL Asia, as the regional alliance, aims to:

  • Greatly increase the visibility of footy in Asia.
  • Encourage and facilitate the development of local players.
  • Provide greater structure and coordination, resulting in more footy.
  • Use Australia’s signature sport as a vehicle to promote Australian interests.
  • Provide a catalyst and ongoing interest for Asia’s growing alumni of former players.
  • Attract additional resources to support the above.

In October 2015, 18 Clubs signed the AFL Asia MOU and are considered member clubs. A list of all Clubs and teams can be found here.

History

Australian Rules Football or “Footy” has been played in Asia for decades with a Vietnam Football League being held in Vung Tau during the Vietnam War. The first International games between predominantly Australian ex-pats in Asia started in the early 1990′s when the Hong Kong Dragons played their first match the day after the 1990 AFL Grand Final.

Footy was back in Vietnam in June 1998 when the Saigon Saints and the Hanoi Hawks (aka ‘the Bloody Army’) formed to play Thailand Tigers and Hong Kong Dragons at the Saigon South International School in what is believed to be the first ever Aussie Rules football tournament in Asia, sponsored by Fosters in conjunction with the opening of the Fosters brewery in Saigon.

This tournament added momentum to the developing idea of getting a proper Asian AFL Championships tournament, leading to the 1999 Asian AFL Championships being planned for Jakarta. However, when Australian interests in Indonesia were put on alert due to the East Timor Independence movement, the tournament moved to Bangkok and was renamed the “4 Nations Cup”, won by the Singapore Wombats.

A year later in Jakarta, the “Indonesian Bintangs” would host and win what is widely considered the first AFL Asian Championships, as it was the first tournament where all the Clubs of the region were invited.

Since then footy in the region has boomed with Australian Football Clubs now well establishing in most Asian countries, with a record 15 Clubs competing at the 2015 Asian Champs. Played every year since 2000 this international tournament is the pinnacle of the AFL Asia Australian football calendar.

AFL Asia was formalised on 27 July 2013, when a meeting of Asia’s presidents was held in Bangkok to discuss the future of footy in Asia. In all, 13 countries / clubs physically attended and submissions were received from another four clubs. This was the first time Asian footy had ever met with the sole purpose of preparing a road map for Asian footy (previous meetings were held prior to the Asian Championships when the Asian Champs was the focus).

At this meeting it was quickly agreed that Asian footy needed an umbrella organisation to govern and steer the development of footy in Asia. It was proposed that the organisation be known as AFL Asia – to which the AFL agreed. The AFL also agreed to the AFL Asia logo which was unveiled at the Asian Champs in Thailand on 17 August 2013.

Asian Champs History

Year Venue Champions Junior Champions Div 2 Champions
1999 Bangkok, Thailand** Singapore Wombats
2000 Jakarta, Indonesia Indonesian Bintangs
2001 Bangkok, Thailand Singapore Wombats
2002 Singapore Indonesian Bintangs
2003 Hong Kong Hong Kong Dragons
2004 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Hong Kong Dragons
2005 Manila, the Philippines Singapore Wombats
2006 Jakarta, Indonesia Singapore Wombats
2007 Bangkok, Thailand Hong Kong Dragons
2008 Singapore Dubai Heat Jakarta Bulldogs
2009 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Dubai Heat Jakarta Bulldogs
2010 Shanghai, China Dubai Heat
2011 Bangkok, Thailand Singapore Wombats
2012 Pattaya, Thailand Hong Kong Dragons
2013 Pattaya, Thailand Hong Kong Dragons
2014 Angeles City, Philippines Singapore Wombats
2015 Bangkok, Thailand Hong Kong Dragons Lao Elephants
2016 RMIT Saigon Campus, Vietnam

**4-Nations Cup – not widely considered to be an “Asian Champs”

Leagues

AFL Asia League: While called a league, this is more of a ladder recording all of the officially sanctioned AFL Asia games competed between AFL Asia member clubs at tournaments or ‘one-off’s’. Used as a way to encourage participation, it is a unique league in that it consists of teams playing an uneven amount of games of different lengths of duration and playing numbers, rewarding those that regularly travel and host games. The league supersedes the South East Asian Australian Football League and East Asian Australian Football League competed in 2013-14.

AFL Asia League Champions
2014 – Vietnam Swans
2015 – Malaysia Warriors

South China Australian Football League (SCAFL): Originating as games between Hong Kong teams, the League was created in 2011 to include teams from the surrounding areas in China. It comprised the Macau Lightning, Guangzhou Scorpions, Hong Kong Reds/Typhoons, Hong Kong Blues/Cobras, Lantau Lizards with the Hong Kong Gaelic team competing in 2013. The Guangdong Seagulls a local Chinese team joined in 2014.

SCAFL Premiers
2011 – ?
2012 – ?
2013 – ?
2014 – Hong Kong Typhoons
2015 – ?

https://www.facebook.com/southchinaAFL

Guangdong Australian Football League (GDAFL): To complement the work of the AFL China Academy in Guangzhou, local chinese teams were created and play regular 10-a-side round robin rounds across Guangdong Province. Current teams include Guangzhou Scorpions, Guangzhou Sports University Seagulls, Pearl River Power, Dongguan Nanhua Giants and Huizhou Hawks.

GDAFL Premiers
2014-15 – Guangzhou Sports University Seagulls

https://www.facebook.com/GuangdongAFL/

Philippine Australian Football League (PAFL): An annual competition established in 2004 between the Eurekas and Dingos

http://www.pafl.com.ph/about-the-pafl/history-of-the-pafl/

Saigon Mixed 9’s: A 4-team mixed 9-a-side competition hosted by the Vietnam Swans, established in 2014.

Saigon 9’s Premiers
2014/15 – Dragon Industry Blues
2015/16 – CVP Reds

For further information:

  • To read AFL Asia’s original media release, with quotes from the AFL, click here.
  • To download a copy of the minutes of the Asian Presidents’ meeting on 27 July, 2013, click onto Minutes Asian Prez Meeting BKK.