AFL world in mourning over death of legendary Auskick founder

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Ray Allsopp, pictured here before his tragic death.
The AFL world is mourning the death of Auskick founder Ray Allsopp. Image: Getty/Facebook

The AFL world is mourning the death of former Richmond Tigers player and Auskick founder Ray Allsopp.

Allsopp, affectionately known as the 'grandfather' of Auskick, died at age 87.

Allsopp played 54 games for Richmond in the VFL the 1950s, however it was his work after his playing career was finished that he is best known for.

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The 87-year-old developed that hugely successful program known as Auskick, designed to get young kids across Australia playing AFL.

The program exploded in the mid-1990s, with over 200,000 participants taking part.

"He was the father figure of Auskick," AFL Talent Ambassador Kevin Sheehan told AFL.com.au.

"He was the creator, the inventor, and at a time when we needed someone to focus on skill development in those primary school years.

Tony Lockett and Stuart Maxfield, pictured here during an Auskick launch.
Tony Lockett (centre) with Stuart Maxfield (right) during an Auskick launch. Image: Getty

"We had all this competition from other sports, and we wanted to win hearts and minds of primary school kids.

“He was the founder of that program that really has given us such a foundation because there are right now around Australia, boys and girls of all backgrounds and in all communities and all regions getting a chance to learn the game.

“He just made an incredible contribution.”

Allsopp was also an executive officer of the Junior Football Council of Victoria and editor of Junior Footballer Magazine.

“Ray was the forefather of modern junior development for our football code,” coaching legend Kevin Sheedy said.

“Ray was a great person who helped our game grow predominantly out of Victoria to become Australia’s most popular participated in and watched sport."

AFL world mourns death of Ray Allsopp

Coaching great David Parkin said Allsopp will go down as one of the most important figures in the AFL’s recent history.

“I know few people who have had a more positive and significant impact on our great game than Ray Allsopp, certainly in my lifetime,” he said.

The Richmond Football Club also paid tribute to Allsopp.

"The directors, officials, players, coaches, staff and members of the Richmond Football Club mourn the passing of former player Ray Allsopp OAM,” the club said in a statement.

“He later became a key VFL administrator and his fine service to Australian football subsequently resulted in him receiving life membership of the AFL and the Medal of the Order of Australia.

“Our deepest sympathies to Ray’s family and friends.”

The AFL said in a tribute: “The AFL mourns the passing of Life Member Ray Allsopp. A VFL player with Richmond, Ray developed the school program in Victoria as the forerunner to Auskick, changing our game for the better. Vale.”

Allsopp kicked 69 goals for the Tigers and finished second in Richmond's best and fairest voting in 1957.

He was given AFL Life Membership for administration in 2010 and awarded an Order of Australia Medal in 2017.

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