Australian rules football has been played as an organised sport in Asia since the late 1980s, with the foundation of teams in Japan based around universities in Tokyo.
Before this time, only informal matches had been played in some countries, the majority involving Australian servicemen.
Since the 1980s a number of clubs have been formed in east Asia, mainly by expatriate Australians, although in Japan, China and Indonesia the majority of the playing base consists of locals.
There is no official governing body as such, although an informal association named the Asian AFL has existed between clubs for some time, with discussion currently underway to formalise a regional body.
Previous to 2008, the only Asian league with sufficient local player numbers and organisational structure to have attended the Australian Football International Cup was Japan, although with the aid of partnerships also involving the AFL, Australian Football in India and China became rapidly organised in 2007 resulting in their debuts in the 2008 Australian Football International Cup.
Currently the sport in Asia is broadcast only on satellite television through the Australia Network. Presently only Australian Football League matches are shown, particularly the AFL Grand Final. The main tournament and cup competition is between Australian expat-based clubs is the annual Asian Australian Football Championships. The 2011 Asian Champs will be played in Bangkok, Thailand - hosted by the Thailand Tigers for the second time.