The Roar
The Roar


AFL spreads its wings thanks to ex-pat efforts

Roar Guru
11th June, 2009
1530 Reads

The ability for Australian football to expand beyond our shores has been severely limited in the past, for a variety of reasons.

Footy overseas prior to the late 1990s was generally the domain of ex-pat Aussies. Obviously not all ex-pat Aussies are ‘footy family,’ to put it mildly.

However, that has been gradually changing and here are some current examples of the new ‘ex-pats’ growing the game as they move around the globe.

In a story running on, the efforts of some Danish AFL ‘old boys’ are highlighted.

Briefly from the article:

In the Norwegian city of Tromsø, Helsingborg Saints old boy Johan Julin is part of a group founding the world’s most northerly club. In Andorra, British expat Doug Pate is running a club. Páll Finnsson, the Icelandic captain of the Denmark Vikings at IC08, this weekend pulled on the boots at the French Championships.

Back in Iceland, Páll’s brother Jón Hrói Finnsson has also been trying to get the sport started since returning from his stint playing footy in Denmark. It seems his efforts are paying off, with school clinics underway and a senior side in formation in the town of Ólafsfjörður.

Around 400km away in the Icelandic capital Reykjavík, a group of around a dozen senior players have been kicking the footy on a weekly basis since May, under the leadership of Friðgeir Torfi Ásgeirsson, another Icelander who learnt to play in the DAFL.

Clearly, to some people, a personal investment has been made and it’s no longer just about Aussies wanting to get together, drink beer and regale in tales from home.


Along with league’s transforming from 80 percent ex-pat Aussies to 80 percent locals, the game in small pockets overseas is developing a life of it’s own.

This is a curious case study.

I stress again, no one is talking ‘world domination’ here. And a couple of dozen blokes in Iceland is hardly a revolution.

It is a start though, and Denmark went through that process twenty-odd years ago.