ABOUT AFL LONDON
First formed in 1989, AFL London was formerly known as the British Australian Rules Football League (BARFL). Eight clubs participated in the inaugural season in 1990, including the London Hawks, West London Wildcats, North London Lions, Earls Court Kangaroos, Lea Valley saints, Thames Valley Magpies, Wandsworth Demons and a club based in Leicester, the East Midland Eagles.
Of the foundation teams, four still survive in West London, North London, Wimbledon (formerly the London Hawks) and Wandsworth.
Between 1990 and 2001, the league existed as one competition for all clubs, ranging from a high of ten clubs in 1991 to a low of six in 1998.
In 2001 the League restructured to incorporate two levels of competition, known as the Premiership and Conference competitions. In 2007 a Social grade competition was also added to cater to growing numbers of players and teams.
2008 saw a restructure of Australian Rules Football in the UK, with the BARFL redeveloped to become AFL Britain, an organisation with less direct control over football in London, but a greater ability to support the growth of the game both in and outside the capital.
As part of this change, the London competition was rebranded as AFL London. In 2014 an exhibition game for women was held by the Wimbledon Hawks.
This lead to women putting their hands up to start women’s teams at North London Lions, South East London Giants, Wandsworth Demons and Wimbledon Hawks, to compete in the inaugural AFL London Women’s League in 2015. The women’s league was very successful in it’s inaugural league and there are now seven clubs with teams in AFL London.
With more than 20 years of history AFL London is one of the oldest competitions outside Australia, and arguably the strongest in terms of player numbers and quality of football.