AFL Asia are excited to announce that $80,000 of funding has been invested into eight countries across the region as part of the newly developed Development Grants Program (DGP).

The funding has come directly from the AFL, which is a terrific outcome and highlights their ongoing investment in our region.

Each country and their league/club were diligently required to apply for their grant through a thorough and structured application process which was assessed by a panel that consisted of AFL Asia Development Manager Simon Highfield, AFL Asia Advisory Board Member Grant Dooley, two other AFL employees and a DFAT representative.

The panel representing AFL Asia were very impressed with all the applications in what is an exciting opportunity for the region and the eight countries that each received $10,000 of DGP funding.

Below are summarized details about each country’s program, which focus on targeted areas such as game development, governance, participation, local development, junior development and pathway opportunities in new and existing markets and will provide sustainability to their countries football programs.

– Cambodia – Hiring a national development officer to run Kick2Kick programs across schools in the capital, Phnom Penh.
– Guangzhou, China – Funding staff and resources to manage and deliver the senior GDAFL (Guangdong AFL) season.
– India – A leadership program to upskill and build capacity of 30 AFL India leaders across regions in India and increase engagement and participation of Indikick (focusing on leadership, sports admin, coaching and umpiring).
– Indonesia – Reigniting Indokick in the capital, Jakarta, through hiring staff and resources, and includes outreach programs in Borneo and Bali.
– Malaysia – Funding legal advise to sanction Australian football as a national sport in Malaysia, which will allow visits to schools and communities, which will run concurrently with a pilot Bolehkick program in two public schools in Kuala Lumpur.
– Singapore – Funding female-specific engagement and a talent pathway in their hugely popular Auskick centre.
– Thailand – Funding a national lead (DO) and resources to deliver after-school Thaikick across 10 schools in Bangkok.
– Vietnam – Funding resources to establish a Vietnam Swans Academy, after identifying a gap in participation between Auskick and seniors.

One of the successful recipients of the DGP are the Cambodian Eagles, who will hire Sophoan Peou to be their National Development Officer and run their Kick2Kick program across schools in the capital, Phnom Penh.

Recently appointed Cambodian Eagles President Hannah Slaughter welcomed the injection of DGP funding, the wealth of opportunities that it will bring to their local development initiatives and that Sophoan Peou is the perfect person to be the lead the program.

“It was really big deal for us when we received the news that our DGP application was successful. We’ve always wanted to start some form of an official local development program. To be able to get that injection of funding to kickstart the program is really important.”

“Our main aim is to going into schools and getting some grassroots footy action happening and hopefully being able to build that bridge between late teens to a colts team and giving kids opportunities to play as much as possible and then when they’re ready for seniors (domestic leagues) to be competitive.”

“The long-term goal of the program is to build the club from the foundation with players and a development tool for young Cambodians and to have that kind of (financial) commitment as a paid job for Sophoan was really important point from the Executive Committee, as we want someone who knows the game and is able to commit wholeheartedly.”

“Sophoan is on our Executive Committee and she will be the coach, the manager, the facilitator of that program, so to be able to have a Cambodian going into schools and talking about AFL and she being one of the most experienced players, not just as a women and not just as a Cambodian, but in Asia and with her coaching and umpiring qualifications, this our big ticket item and at the forefront of our minds as a club heading into 2022.”

AFL Asia Advisory Board Member Grant Dooley has been one of the key drivers behind the establishment of the DGP and he thanked the AFL for their investment and what it will provide for the recipients.

“The creation of the DGP is the result of years of hard work by a bunch of dedicated people, each of whom shared in the same vision for the sustainable growth of AFL in Asia.”

“I’d like to thank the AFL for providing the seed funding for the launch of the DGP, thus bringing this shared vision to a reality.”

“For DGP recipients, this funding is a fantastic opportunity for them to turbo charge the growth of AFL in their respective countries.” Dooley said.

AFL Asia is excited to see the DGP initiatives, programs and opportunities come to fruition and the associated sustainable outcomes and growth in participation that can be achieved as the future unfolds.