The South Australian Amateur Football League (SAAFL), currently known as the Channel 9 Adelaide Football League is a semi-professional Australian rules football competition based in Adelaide, South Australia. Comprising sixty-seven member clubs playing over one hundred and ten matches per week, the SAAFL is one of Australia's largest Australian rules football associations.
The league currently provides competition across eight Senior divisions with Reserves grades, accompanied by a separate C grade competition, all from Divisions 1 to 7. There are also two under 18 divisions named Red and Yellow divided by area.
The league was officially formed on 8 March 1911 and the first match was played on 6 May 1911. With the exception of recesses during the two World Wars, the competition has been continuous since that time.
The South Australian Football Association (later to be renamed to South Australian National Football League) had existed as a competition since 1877, but by the early 1900s was structured on an "electorate system" where players qualified for clubs on the basis of electoral boundaries. Adelaide University Football Club was keen to field a team in the SAFA competition and applied each year from 1906 to 1910. Each time the application was rejected as it was felt the inclusion of a university team would threaten the electorate system.
In 1910 the Adelaide University Sports Association thought the case for admission to SAFA would be strengthened if the University had a team playing successfully in regular competition. It was felt that this could be achieved by forming a purely amateur league with other clubs not already in an association.〔http://www.saafl.asn.au/history/formation.php〕 By late 1910 Glenferrie, Marlborough and St. Bartholomew clubs had agreed to join with University to form the new association based on amateur principles. By 1911, as preparations were in hand for the inaugural season, the four clubs had become five with the inclusion of St. Francis Xavier. The clubs also had agreed to admit late applicant Semaphore Central for the 1912 season.
In that first season only three ovals were used for matches - Jubilee Oval, Price Oval and University Oval. Price Oval (now known as Hawthorn Oval) in Mitcham and University Oval (at the corner of Sir Edwin Smith Avenue and War Memorial Drive) both still exist today. The Jubilee Oval however was built upon by the university in 1946.
Throughout the history of the league there have been many clubs join and leave the league. Affiliation peaked in 2001 with 72 clubs.〔http://www.saafl.asn.au/history/b06.php〕 Of the founding clubs, only Adelaide University remains.
The 2010 season marked the 100th year of the league, with the last day in September won by Henley, who won their first Division 1 premiership in history.
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