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Four clubs off to India as AFL eyes game

Gill's plan, Swan down, Dane's advice All the latest news from the Footy Feed team
AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan - AFL,Gillon McLachlan
AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan
China and India are huge migrant markets. India has facilities that are easy, so you've got population and the scale, you've got the economic growth and an appetite to follow sport.
Gillon McLachlan

FOUR clubs are visiting India this week as the AFL edges closer to staging a game in the world's second most populous country.

AFL general manager of China and India David Stevenson will fly to India later this week on a fact-finding mission, and will be accompanied by officials from four clubs. 

League CEO Gillon McLachlan preferred not to disclose the identity of those clubs at a pre-season briefing with reporters on Wednesday.

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But Richmond and Greater Western Sydney have been pushing since last year to play a premiership game in Mumbai, while Essendon and Adelaide have also been investigating playing a pre-season or exhibition game on the subcontinent.   

McLachlan said India was an enticing new market for the AFL, but was not sure how soon games could be fixtured there.  

"China and India are huge migrant markets. India has facilities that are easy, so you've got population and the scale, you've got the economic growth and an appetite to follow sport," McLachlan said. 

"There are potentially opportunities in India and they're being explored at the moment."

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Meanwhile, McLachlan said the AFL's presence in China had reached "an interesting point" ahead of the competition's second consecutive premiership game in Shanghai, between Gold Coast and Port Adelaide in round nine this year.

The AFL boss said the League remained committed to playing in China for the next five years, but acknowledged there was a "five or 10 per cent chance" AFLX could replace premiership games over that time.  

"The facility is challenging, there are some challenges with that game. If our presence [changes] or looks different I don't know, but we're committed to being up there for the medium term," McLachlan said. 

"Right now our plan is to be up there playing a (premiership) game for the next five years. There's a chance it could [change] but right now it's five games. 

"Our dialogue and relationship with China is going through an interesting point. In a macro sense, China is going to be incredibly important to Australia for the next century in my view, but it will go through ebbs and flows."