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What is Australian Rules Football?

Those who live in the state of Victoria in Australia are fanatical about their footy. Its a version of football that is not played anywhere else in the world and is only mainly played in Victoria and to a limited extent in other states of Australia. Pretty much everyone who lives in Victoria has a team that they follow and that they are passionate about. The official name is the Australian Football League or AFL, but is often referred to those outside the sport to Aussie Rules. The rules of AFL were put into a code in 1858 and predate the football leagues in other countries such as the USA and Canada. Today it is a multi-million dollar business with the main national league and many smaller feeder or regional leagues. Interest in the game is currently at an all-time high and there is increasing interest in it from overseas. Some games between Australian teams have been played in New Zealand and the United Kingdom and more are planned. There is even a recently formed USA Australian Rules League that has a couple of teams, mostly ex-patriot Australians who long for the game back home.

A game of Aussies rules consists of four 20 minute quarters, with time on that is added for the time when the ball is out of play. The first and third quarters are separated by a shorter break with a very long break of twenty minutes at half time. In each team consists of eighteen players that are on the ground at any one time, with another four players on the ‘interchange’ bench who may be interchanged with other players on the field during the game. The AFL Season has of 22 regular season games during March to August, with four weeks of finals that are held in September. The country stands still for the grand final game and it is the biggest event on the Australian sports calendar.