THE AFL'S commitment to being a more inclusive sport will be highlighted in the coming weeks with a host of state-based wheelchair and inclusion football festivals to be held across the country.

All state and territory football bodies will each hold inclusion and wheelchair football events including Come and Play Days, local representative football matches and establishment of new inclusion programs and competitions.

The state-based football festival initiative has been developed to provide a safe alternative in lieu of the annual Toyota AFL National Inclusion and Toyota National Wheelchair AFL Championships which was cancelled due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

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With one in six Australians living with a disability, AFL Disability Inclusion Manager Tim Nield said it was pleasing to see inclusion opportunities celebrated in each state and territory.

"While we would have loved to hold our annual Toyota AFL National Inclusion and Toyota National Wheelchair AFL Championships this year, we are thrilled to be working with our state and territory bodies to celebrate another year of disability inclusion programs through our local football festivals," he said.

"We hope that these football festivals showcase the inclusivity of Australian Football and encourage people of all ages and abilities to get involved in their local football programs.

"I'd like to thank Toyota for their ongoing support of our national inclusion initiatives, and their help in delivering these local football festivals which provide increased opportunities for people with disability to enjoy our great game."

Supporting national AFL inclusion events for the last two years, Toyota Australia Chief Marketing Officer John Pappas said Toyota was delighted to play a role in empowering as many people as possible to participate in our national game.

"Toyota Australia is committed to supporting the development of AFL at all levels, from grassroots to the elite, and including people of all ages and abilities," Mr Pappas said.

"At Toyota, our vision is focused on connecting us with the freedom to move and be moved, and initiatives such as these provide amazing opportunities to do just that."

For more information on wheelchair and inclusion programs in each state and territory, please see the websites below:

>> AFL Victoria
>> SANFL
>> WA All Ability Football Association
>> AFL NSW/ACT
>> AFL Queensland
>> AFL Tasmania
>> AFL NT

The 2021 Toyota AFL Premiership Cup paid a visit to players from the WA Wheelchair Football League. Picture: Tamati Smith, Yama(t)ji/AFL Photos

About the Toyota National Wheelchair AFL Championships

Delivered in conjunction with Disability Sports Australia, the National Wheelchair AFL Championships provide an opportunity for people with a physical disability to participate in Australian Football.

The game is played between two teams of five with interchange players. The sport is played on an indoor basketball court with goal posts at either end and is divided into three zones, a centre, defense and forward zone.

Players are assigned to the position of either a defender, centre or forward with the forwards the only players who are able to score. There is no kicking of the ball in Wheelchair AFL. A handball is equivalent to a kick as per Australian Rules Football and a thrown ball below shoulder height is equivalent to a hand pass.

Teams can score in their attacking zone by the designated forwards who can score a goal or behind by hand balling the ball between the goal posts.

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About Toyota AFL National Inclusion Carnival

The AFL National Inclusion Carnival brings together male footballers aged 16 years and over with an intellectual disability from across the country to take part in a one-week representative football competition.

Teams representing the Northern Territory, NSW/ACT, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria Country, Victoria Metro, and Western Australia are divided into two Divisions and will compete in a three-match round robin series, before playing finals in their respective competitions.

In addition, the AFL National Inclusion Carnival provides players with an opportunity to take part in a number of educational sessions to develop their skills off the field.