Established by its constituent member associations at a conference in Frankfurt in January 2010, AFL Europe is the governing body for Australian Football in Europe. Headquartered in London, and affiliated to the Australian Football League, AFL Europe is responsible for the development of the sport across the continent. AFL Europe has full time administrative staff based out of our London Office that report to a commission consisting of our Chairman Chris Dow, three appointed members and three members elected by the general assembly of member associations.
AFL Europe’s responsibilities include assisting member Leagues and Associations, promoting the sport, managing and delivering major events, overseeing an Elite Talent Identification programme for the AFL and engaging with commercial and community partners.
AFL Europe are passionate about growing the game in Europe and are always looking at new and innovative ways of reaching more people to educate them and expose them to our great game.
In 2015, a new CEO of AFL Europe was appointed; Megan Hession. An avid Port Adelaide supporter, Megan is a New Yorker and founder & former owner of the sports management firm, Blakely Advisors. Having spent 15 years in London and New York in the financial technology sector, Megan and her husband David headed to Dubai in 2012 to focus solely on Blakely Advisors. Megan now works with elite athletes in football (EPL, NFL, AFL), tennis, basketball, and racecar driving. Her team specialised in all aspects of player welfare, from preparing them for competition to life after the game. It was in Dubai that Megan met our beloved Port Adelaide boys and was introduced to the incredible sport that is AFL. Moving from round balls to oval, Megan headed back to London in 2015 to undertake the CEO role and apply her extensive experience in growing the sport throughout Europe.
AFL Europe Events
Each year AFL Europe delivers a number of mass participation events for the footy community that England clubs, players and International teams are involved with. These include:
AFL Europe Champions League: A new event first held in March 2015, contested as a one-day lightning carnival involving the club champions of all the various European leagues. The inaugural Champions League held in Amsterdam was won by our very own West London Wildcats with the Bristol Dockers and Manchester Mosquitoes also competing as winners of the other English regional leagues.
Axios Euro Cup (formally EU Cup): The annual 9 a side event, featuring the continents national teams is played as a lightning carnival and is the largest gathering of Australian football players on the annual calendar. England Dragonslayers have won this competition three times making them the most successful team in Euro Cup history thus far. The England Vixens competed for the first time in 2014 coming runners-up.
AFL Europe Championship: Held every three years, this full format competition determines the Champions of Europe and has taken place twice since the inaugural championship in Denmark and Sweden in 2010. The reigning champions are Ireland who won the most recent championship on home soil with a goal on the final siren against our GB Bulldogs. The Bulldogs will be looking to disrupt their 100% record in 2016 on home turf in the UK.
Easter Series: Currently on hiatus, this annual event saw teams representing Europe at Senior (European Titans) and U-23(European Legion) play against the touring AFL Academy team. Numerous English and GB players have been involved in the European Legion team including: Adam Ballard, Danny Armitage, Sean Walton, Luke Booth, Cameron Cope, Samuel Willatt and Ollie Di-leito.
A major undertaking for AFL Europe is a talent identification programme carried out on behalf of the AFL. Centred upon the recruitment of Irish Gaelic Footballers, this programme has been expanded gradually to include British and Danish players too. The programme reaches a climax each year with a Combine in Dublin, where a group of the most talented players are invited to complete the AFL physical Combine testing in front of AFL recruiters and staff. Sam Willatt was the first English player to attend the Dublin combine in December2014.
Visit the website at www.afleurope.org