World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Australian rules football in the Middle East


Australian rules football in the Middle East

Australian rules football in the Middle East describes the minority sport of Australian rules football as it is watched and played in the Middle East region.

The sport is played at various levels, mainly by expatriate Australians. The main cup competition played in the area is the Dubai 9s, although a regional league under the name AFL Middle East which commenced in October 2008, with the inaugural 2008/09 premiers being the Dubai Heat. The AFLME initially featured six clubs, three in Dubai and one each from Abu Dhabi, Muscat and Doha.

Australian football is not known as a spectator sport in the Middle East. The first Australian Football League exhibition match was played in the United Emirates in 2008. The only matches broadcast are AFL matches (particularly the AFL Grand Final) on satellite television in some countries through the Australia Network and on cable television in Israel.


  • Bahrain 1
  • Iraq 2
  • Israel 3
  • Israel and Palestine 4
  • Lebanon 5
  • Oman 6
  • Qatar 7
  • United Arab Emirates 8
  • Middle Eastern performance at International Cup 9
  • References 10


The Bahrain Blues were created in 2009, making their debut at the Dubai 9s tournament in that year. They will enter the AFL Middle East as the league's seventh club for the season starting in October 2009.[1]


Servicemen, mostly Australians in Iraq played a game on ANZAC Day in 2008 in the colours of Essendon Bombers and Collingwood Magpies to celebrate the The ANZAC Day clash.


Peres Peace team at the 2008 International Cup

Australian Rules in Israel has been played sporadically since at least 1995, when a group of around 20 players began regular social matches in Tel Aviv, although most of the players were based in Jerusalem. By 2005 the community was still playing with around 70 players involved and discussion about creating a four-team league with sides from Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and various youth programs. The majority of the playing base are members of the Jewish community in Melbourne who have emigrated to Israel.[2]

A side representing Israel competed in both years of the Australian Football Multicultural Cup, winning the 2004 competition.

A team composed of Australian Jews resident in London competed as Israel in the 2005 EU Cup.

Highlights of the AFL Grand Final have been shown on Fox Sports Israel.

Israel and Palestine

The formation of a composite team of Israeli and Palestinian players to participate in the 2008 Australian Football International Cup was suggested by members of the Australian Jewish community in late 2007.[3] This team would be composed mainly of basketball and soccer players, trained from scratch in the first half of 2008. Backing the plan is the Peres Center for Peace, as well as board members of AFL clubs, including Australian Jewish businessman and Carlton Football Club president Dick Pratt.

In early 2008 there was initially around 75 players in training for the team, which was cut back to around 30 for the squad to attend the International Cup. Match-day coach for the team at the tournament was former player Robert DiPierdomenico.


Australian Rules in Lebanon was first played around 2003 and 2004 in an attempt to introduce the sport into that country by members of the Lebanese community resident in Melbourne,[4] this competition (based in Tripoli) has since gone into recess and there is no Australian rules currently played in Lebanon.

A team representing the Melbourne Lebanese community also competed at the Australian Football Multicultural Cup in both 2004, 2005, 2010 & 2011, winning the cup three times and then a fourth in 2014.

Team Lebanon was taken over by new president and head coach Rick Kerbatieh, who successfully coached the team to its fourth Harmony Cup in 2014 and is preparing the team for the World Cup in 2015.

Rick is currently head coach of the 2014 Pakistan Shaheens, who will compete in this year's 2014 AFL International Cup.

Rick is currently looking at expanding the game in Lebanon once again and is working behind the scenes in an attempt to set up a Team Lebanon sporting academy.


A group of players from Oman appeared at the 2007 Dubai 9s. The Dubai Dingos followed the Dubai 9s by scheduling a match against the Omani side, which was partly composed of Gaelic football converts.[5] In 2008, the Muscat Magpies were formed as the country's first formal club. The Magpies compete in the upcoming AFL Middle East.[6]


Doha Kangaroos at the 2007 Dubai 9s
An Australian rules football club nicknamed the Kangaroos was founded in Doha, Qatar in early 2007, with their first appearance being at that year's Dubai 9s tournament. The Squad is made up of expatriate Australians.[7]

The Doha Kangaroos were a founding member of the AFL Middle East.

United Arab Emirates

Australian Rules in the United Arab Emirates has been played since 2006, with the creation of a club in Dubai known as the Dubai Dingoes.[8] In addition to the senior team, there is junior football held weekly. The club is mainly composed of expatriate Australians as well as Irish from the local gaelic football club. The Dingoes held a 9-a-side international tournament in early 2007, also featuring teams from Abu Dhabi, Oman and Qatar.[9]

A second and more successful club called the Dubai Heat was created as of 2007.

A team mainly drawn from the Dubai Heat, but also with some players from the Dubai Dingoes, represented the UAE at the 2007 Asian Australian Football Championships. In 2008 Dubai Heat entered another team in the Asian championships and successfully took the title beating the Singapore Wombats.

In February 2008, the first AFL match in the United Arab Emirates was held at the Ghantoot Polo and Racing Club in Abu Dhabi between the Adelaide Crows and the Collingwood Magpies. It was one of few official NAB Cup matches played outside of Australia and the game attracted a sell-out crowd of 6,102 using a makeshift field and grandstand and was televised free-to-air in Australia.[10] The curtain raiser for the AFL match was played between the Dubai Dingos and Dubai Heat.

The Abu Dhabi Falcons and Dubai Dragons were formed in 2008 as the UAE's third and fourth clubs.

Middle Eastern performance at International Cup

Flag Nation Rep team 2002 2005 2008 2011
Israel-Palestinian Territories Peres Team for Peace - - 13th 3rd*
  • * Competed in Division 2


  1. ^ The Bahrain Blues are coming
  2. ^ Footy in Israel - From St Kilda to the Dead Sea
  3. ^ Plan for joint Israeli-Palestinian footy team from the Australian Jewish News
  4. ^ Lebanese Falcons take flight
  5. ^ Dingoes to face Omani side
  6. ^ Muscat Magpies homepage
  7. ^ Dubai 9s websiteDubai 9s Preview
  8. ^ Dubai tries to get footy moving in the Middle East by Ash Nugent for World Footy News. November 23, 2006
  9. ^ Aussie Rules International 2007 Dubai 9's tournament
  10. ^ Damian Barrett (24 January 2008). "Footy facelift for polo complex".  
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.