Today, 19 July, AFL Asia President, Phil Johns has a welcome message in the prospectus for AFL Asia’s 2014 Asian Champs.

Today, 19 July, AFL Asia President, Phil Johns has a welcome message in the prospectus for AFL Asia’s 2014 Asian Champs.

Today, 19 July, the prospectus for AFL Asia’s 2014 Asian Champs was released.

To download the full prospectus, please click here.

Below is a welcome message from AFL Asia’s President, Phil Johns.

Dear Presidents, Officials, Players, Sponsors and Friends

Nearly a year ago, 27 July 2013, the Presidents of our footy clubs in Asia met in Bangkok, for the first time ever, to develop a strategic plan for Asian footy. The outcome of that meeting was the creation of a new umbrella organisation to represent our interests, AFL Asia.

In addition, the club presidents were very clear that within the AFL Asia charter, the Asian Championships which have been played annually since 2000, would remain at the pinnacle of Asian footy’s calendar.

The Champs, very clearly, are to remain Asian footy’s greatest trophy.

This year we are likely to have more teams participate than any other year and as the Asian Camps becomes bigger, the amount of organisation required increases accordingly. The Thailand Tigers did an outstanding job over the previous three years and this year, the responsibility lies with the Philippine Eagles under the Presidency of Peter Hammon.

The Eagles have an exemplary track record for hosting big tournaments: witness the Manila Cup each year and, of course, the Champs back in 2005.

It’s also important for the rest of our clubs to remember that, like all previous host clubs, the organisers are made up of volunteers who work unbelievably hard for our benefit. Please ensure that your club respects that at all times with your dealings with the organisers. Our clubs need to do as much as we can to ensure the organisers’ job is not made any more difficult (eg pay the registration fee on time). If the host enjoys organising and running the Champs this year, we’re more likely to have a host for next year and beyond. This point is very much upper most in AFL Asia’s mind. After all, it was the club presidents at that meeting in July last year who stipulated that the Champs are to remain Asian footy’s greatest trophy.

The last 12 months have been exciting for footy in Asia. We’ve seen the birth of the Myanmar Fighting Cocks and the Pakistan Markhors. The ANZAC Round, in which five games were played around Asia, generated more publicity than ever before. Thanks to countless fundraisers, the Indonesian Garudas will debut at the AFL’s International Cup (IC14) next month (btw, when relations between Australia and Indonesia can sometimes be prickly, what a great story!). We’ve seen the rapid development of the South China AFL (SCAFL) which has encouraged the entry of Port Adelaide to underwrite the costs of TEAM CHINA to travel to the IC14. AFL Asia will host its first official function in Melbourne on 17 August during IC14 to celebrate the achievement of the teams from Asia; namely, Indonesia, China, Japan and India (and hopefully Pakistan).

We also want to use this event to celebrate AFL Asia’s 1st Birthday and to use it as a vehicle to reignite the passion of people back in Australia who have previously been involved in Asian footy.

Meanwhile, tonight, 27 July [Ed’s note, the message was written last Sunday, 27 July], Argentina and Germany will play off in the Final of the 2014 World Cup. The sheer enormity of this event makes our footy clubs in Asia look, at best, like life rafts in a swirling sea of soccer. But at least, we are now organising ourselves better than before.

AFL Asia, I believe, has given our clubs more of a sense of common purpose. Now, those same life rafts are loosely tied together and we are starting to row in the same direction: forward.

But back to business. In less than three months, Asia’s footy teams will converge on the Philippines. Who will be crowned King of Asian footy? Can Hong Kong, in the year of their 25th anniversary, pull off a three-peat??

And will some of those people attending the AFL Asia function in Melbourne on 17 August start talking about the Champs around the water cooler at their places of work…

Thank you again to Peter Hammon, your organisers and the rest of the Philippine Australian Football League.

How good is footy in Asia!