AFL Expansion Strategy Starts With World 9s This Weekend
The Australian Football League (AFL) will be keeping a close eye on their two expansion formats in the coming weeks, as they go head to head with each other.
The AFL’s revamped AFLX tournament, which is a shortened variation of Australian rules football played intermittently as a pre-season event, will take place at Marvel Stadium on 22 February.
On 16 February, however, the inaugural World 9s will be held at Lakeside Stadium in Albert Park, with 8 teams competing including Chile, Ireland, Italy, Malta, New Zealand, South Africa, Switzerland and Team Harmony.
The tournament will be played under the rules of Footy 9s, which have been developed by Australian Football International (AFI).
AFI’s high profile Board includes Ron Barassi, Allen Aylett and Brian Dixon, all of whom have been long-time advocates of growing Aussie Rules internationally.
AFI has spent 20 years growing the game outside Australia, with a strong focus on playing on smaller grounds – including soccer and rugby fields.
Brian Clarke, CEO of AFI, is excited about the potential of world 9s.
“The World 9s is going to be an amazing day as we launch our 2020 – 2040 Strategy for Footy 9s to be included in the Olympic Games,” Clarke said.
“Of course there will be those who will say it’s not going to happen, but we have a 20-year plan.
“The sports landscape is rapidly changing and in the last five years Rugby 7s, climbing and surfing have all become Olympic Sports.
“In Australia, we always say that footy is the greatest game in the world.
“It’s time we made that claim a reality,” Clarke said.
9’s Competition Format
- The tournament will be played on one day.
- 8 national teams (representing Melbourne’s multicultural communities).
- 9-a-side (maximum of 15 players per squad).
- Matches will commence every 35 minutes to facilitate a carnival type atmosphere.
- Each match will consist of 2 x 14 minute halves, plus 2 minutes for half-time.
- Each team will play a minimum of 3 matches during the event.
- Each team will play in their national colours.
- The top two teams will advance to the Grand Final. The winner shall be awarded the World 9s Trophy.