It is with a heavy heart I today formally announce that I won’t be seeking another term as President of AFL England. It has been a privilege and an honour to represent the clubs and most importantly the members of our community to the AFL and this is a decision I do not take lightly.
I am extremely proud of the work done by the committee to further the game of Australian Football here in England and continue to drive fruitful relationships with not just the AFL through AFL Europe but also with our local National Governing Bodies which have never been stronger. My only regrets would be not being able to see through the amazing work we have started.
Highlights for me include:
- Seeing two junior clubs set up in the country
- England’s men’s side returning to the top of European football
- Seeing the National University League take off and play their inaugural All-Stars games against Ireland
- Seeing the first female player try and crack the AFLW by attending the 2019 CrossCoders camp
- Seeing the formation of a new club in Portsmouth and Huddersfield returning to strength
- Seeing AFL London overcome many obstacles to have a successful Premiership season
- AFL England Launches ‘All Ages, All Stages’ Initiative
- National University League Returns for Season Two
- AFL European Championship Fixtures Confirmed
On my resignation I reflect on what I believe the future holds for Australian Football in not just England but outside of Australia and I do believe my initial vision still holds true that without the formation of grassroots junior clubs, leagues and schools programs we will continue to be at the mercy of Australian ex-pats wanting to play the game overseas while they travel the world.
While this brings an amazing diversity and opportunity for likeminded individuals to meet and play the sport they love I do believe that the continuation of this remains doomed to ultimately fail in the long run. I do hope that the continuation of the all-stages, all-ages initiative is high on the agenda of the next president and their team. Without it, I cannot see the growth in the sport that we are all striving for.
To end on a happier note I know that the game in England is in safekeeping with Will, Sarah, Laura and Harry continuing to lead initiatives and supporting Dean, Ian and our GB sides as they look to retain both AFL Europe Championship titles this October.
I look forward to watching from afar as the game goes from strength to strength.