Contributed by: Aaron Richard Monday, August 02 2004 @ 08:43 am ACST
July the 10th was an important date for Aussie Rules in Central Europe. In Düsseldorf, Germany, five sides representing Belgium, Austria, Germany, France and Spain met to contest the second annual Central European championships. Of these five nations, only in Germany has footy been regularly played for longer than a year or two. In Belgium, the Brussels Saints were founded this year, as were the Wien (Vienna) Dingos in Austria and France\'s Paris Cockerels.
Spain\'s Madrid Bears were relative veterans, having had their first kick just over two years ago. They also hosted the inaugral CEAFL championships in Madrid last year - which saw sides representing Britain and Germany contest the title.
The scoreboard recorded the Belgians as victors, defeating Spain in the final. Germany (fielding an entirely local playing roster) took third place, with Austria fourth and France bringing up the rear. But the real excitement on the day was having the first occasion when five European nations came together in one tournament - joining the relatively well-established leagues in Britain, Ireland, Denmark and Sweden and bringing the total number of European nations with active clubs playing Australian Rules to nine.
Spain and Germany are possibilities to field sides at the 2005 International Cup - though it is more likely to be 2008 before they make an appearance down under. In the meantime though there\'s next year\'s CEAFL tournament in Paris - and hopefully this will see the appearance of a few more sides, with repeated attempts over the past few years to found clubs in the Netherlands, Croatia and the Czech Republic.