With the 2018 season fast approaching, we’ll be taking a look at each of the countries in our AFL Europe community to get a snapshot of how Aussie Rules kicked off in their country, some of their highlights, and their goals for 2018. Next up is Switzerland, who competed at 2017’s Euro Cup in Bordeaux, and have plans to expand their playing numbers in 2018. Check out what AFL Switzerland President, Stefan Burgener, had to say about AFL in Switzerland: 

What’s the history of AFL in Switzerland? 

AFL in Switzerland was started by a few Italians in ca. 2009 in Lugano (in the Italian speaking region). A men’s and women’s team competed in the Euro Cup once each and the Lugano men’s team competed in the Italian league.

Neither the men’s nor the women’s teams competed in the Euro cup a second time and an attempt by the men’s team to enter the International Cup in Melbourne in 2011 failed due to a lack of funding.

After the founders had to move back to Italy, unfortunately no-one took over and both national teams came to a halt. I’m not sure how much longer the Lugano team who played in the Italian league kept going for but it is my understanding that they don’t exist anymore.

Give us a snapshot of AFL in Switzerland:

At the beginning of 2017, with the help of a few mates, I started a men’s team based in Winterthur, Switzerland. We started training in May. We currently have ca. 20 players, but about 8-10 tend to show up to training at once. Training in 2018 is planned to be held once a week from March to October.

None of our players had played footy before prior to May 2017, apart from my brother and I who had kicked the footy around a couple of times at school in Australia (we are half aussie and moved here in 2009 at the ages of 14 and 15).

New players of any experience level (incl. beginners) are welcome anytime; please contact me: burgener_3@hotmail.com.

Switzerland at the 2017 Euro Cup in Bordeaux

What were some of the highlights of AFL in Switzerland in 2017?

Our highlight for 2017 was competing in the 9-a-side Euro Cup in Bordeaux in October. We finished last, but we were rapt to get a team together and have our first taste of competitive footy, meeting players from across Europe along the way.

What are your top three goals for 2018? 

Our goals for 2018:

– Hold our first general Meeting in February and officially found the club.

– Play at least one international friendly and/or compete in at least one Central & Eastern Europe tournament.

– Finish 9th in the Euro Cup.

Who’s a player to watch?

Jeff Bishop

DOB: 3. May 1993

Height: 181cm

Weight: 75 kg

Position: Full Back

Features: Fast, agile, good decision-maker and spoils opponents a head taller than him.

Achievements: Voted by myself, assistant coach Till Roost and vice-captain Chris Lauener as our player of the tournament in Bordeaux and was therefore included in the team of the tournament.

This is just the beginning and our long-term dream is for Switzerland to have it’s own league and a competitive 18-a-side national team.

AFL Switzerland’s Jeff Bishop at the 2017 Euro Cup

If you’re interested in playing AFL in Switzerland, send us an email at admin@afleurope.org for more information of how you can get involved.