The Asia Oceania Floorball Confederation (AOFC) held their Annual Meeting in Wellington, New Zealand on 3rd February, during the recent Women´s WFC Qualification event. Nine countries were represented at the meeting which discussed future regional competitions, membership and development.
The Asia Oceania region has shown strong growth over recent years, with a steady increase in the number of member countries. With the membership of China and Hong Kong confirmed by the IFF Central Board in 2016, both these countries were also accepted to the AOFC, bringing the current number of members to 15.
Floorball has successfully been a part of the South East Asia Games in the past and there is an opportunity for it to be part of many other multi-sport events in Asia. The AOFC Competition committee is working to secure participation again in the SEA Games, but also the Asia Games or the Asian Indoor Games.
They will also introduce a new tournament of their own – the AOFC Cup – which will be held for the first time in Thailand in late June 2017. The AOFC have previously had a regional championship, however, this was usually held in conjunction with the WFC qualification events, but now it will be a stand-alone event. The event will alternate from year to year from men´s & women´s competition. In 2017, as it is a WFC year for women, the AOFC Cup will be for men. In 2018, it will be for women.
The hosts for future WFC adult qualification events was also discussed during the meeting, with the provisional plan being as follows: 2018 (Men) – Korea, 2019 (Women) – Thailand or Philippines or China (tbc), 2020 (Men) – Thailand, 2021 (Women) – Japan.
With the growth of Floorball in the region it is important that the development of all areas of the sport is looked after. Referee, coaching and development seminars are planned over the coming year, as well as the consideration of the future employment of a full-time Development Officer.
Japan is one of the oldest of the IFF Member Associations, being amongst the very first nations to join way back in 1994. Someone who has been there from the very beginning is Yoshino Takanobu. He was Head Coach of the Women´s team that competed at the Open European Championships in 1995 and 22 years later he is still at the helm, steering his team to win the latest Women´s WFC qualification event and qualify for WFC 2017. For his long-standing services to Floorball in Japan, he will be presented with the IFF Service Award. The award will be presented during the Women´s WFC in Bratislava in December.
More information on the AOFC can be found here.