Friday, January 28, 2011

Australian Football in India

The Australian football - nicknamed - 'Footy'
The great game of Australian Rules Football, saw its official launch in India in early 2008, with the Australian cricket captain Ricky Ponting as its brand ambassador. 

The game which is a little similar to rugby and American football, unlike 'soccer' (which Indians wrongly term as football), has developed over 150 years in Australia.

Initially located in West Bengal, made rapid progress and a team representing India participated in the International Cup 2008, in Melbourne, competing with 15 other nations. India put up a good show in the second half of the tournament and raised hopes of rapid development till the next International Cup in 2011.

But things did not follow up as expected upon returning. The then existing board members ceased to promote the game any further. Then it was time for the few enthusiastic, existing players to take up the cause for themselves. They got permission from the governing league of the game, the Australian Football League (AFL) and registered a new board.

How is the new board functioning?

As quoted by the President of the new board – Australian Football League - India, Darren Ross, “We decided to take up the cause and spread the game across India. It was out of our love and passion for one of the greatest games ever, which the Indians need to know about. After returning from the last International Cup, there was no development, but now it is up to us to spread it round India. Till date we have also helped launch the game in Kerala and are trying to launch it in Maharashtra very soon. We have also started preparations for the upcoming International Cup 2011, in which India’s participation has been confirmed.”

The Indians team in action against the Japanese at  the
International Cup 2008, Melbourne - file pic
What's in store in the near future?

The good news for India is that the newly appointed AFL International Ambassador, the retired Sydney Swans captain, Brett Kirk will be visiting India next month, as a part of his world tour for the promotion of this game. He will travel to more than 15 nations that will participate in the 2011 International Cup in August. His first stop is Sri Lanka. He will then continue to India, South Africa, Europe and North America.

“I look forward to working with and visiting nations which have embraced our game and are preparing for the International Cup,” Brett said at the official launch of the International Cup 2011.

The 150 year old game, which has developed over the years, is slowly spreading to more and more nations of the world, with recent programs in Peru and Argentina. But unfortunately in India, where only cricket attracts the majority of sponsors, funds seem to be a major problem.

What's the approach to spread the game in India?

The board members mentioned that they are trying to approach Australian companies here in India first, followed by the Indian companies functioning down under.  The Australian Trade Commissioner in India, Mr. Peter Linford said, “I am all up for helping our game develop in India with all my possible resources. I have already spoken to the AFL authorities and the clubs which will be hosting India during the next tournament. I am absolutely positive about India’s participation in it, and also hope that India can put up a better show this time”.

The Indian Tigers at the International Cup 2008 - file pic

With an enthusiastic team of young board members putting all their efforts to help an international game make it big in India, we can only hope that all their efforts are directed in the correct direction which can make this game well know pretty soon.

Sudip Chakraborty - 13


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Sorry ma'am, as this was my 1st ever blog, I wasn't aware of all the technicalities of how to embed links, put captions. Have done it now.

    1. I did speak to Darren Ross on phone and met Peter Linford at the Australian Embassy in New Delhi. But I lifted Brett Kirk's quote from a website, though I have spoken to him personally on other occassions.

    2. Players of this game are located only in West Bengal and Kerala at the moment. But Darren Ross is himself a player as well. This game is about to mark its introduction in Mumbai in Feb 2011.

    3.I have put a para and links to rectify my mistake in this case.

    4.Honest confession, I put the sub-heads in a hurry, have noe rectified them.

    5.Now I know how to put captions, so have put them.

    6. Have put quite a few links now.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Thank you ma'am. Criticisms can only help us get better. I have re-edited the article at places and also added a video of the International Cup 2008. Hope it's a little better this time.
    Thank you.

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.