The AFL hopes its national rollout of a new generation of club academies will ensure more young players are developed from Asian and African communities, and boost the planned new women's league.
Victorian clubs have been allocated regions in their state and the Northern Territory, and granted seed funding to begin programs this year before further developing diversity and participation in coming years.
Clubs from other states will later this month also be allocated regions.
AFL general manager of operations Mark Evans said the academies would seek to develop players in the five to 18 age group and build strong links between local communities and the elite clubs.
"The clubs have been quite excited about that," Evans said. "We are seriously targeting under-represented sections of the community to make sure that they feel welcomed and attracted into the sport and they are developed well and give themselves every opportunity to be drafted."
Evans said it was envisaged that eventually clubs would benefit from developing and identifying talent by being able to draft youngsters under a system similar to the current bidding system for interstate club academies.
"We expect that in the first year alone we will be able to run programs for thousands of kids that don't normally get that," he said.
"Turn your head to what happens in netball, basketball and other sports where there is a form of representative sport for those kids at an earlier age, and we don't have that. We have a very strong club and community-based system, and we think that we could provide programs in year one for another 4000 or 5000 kids, and that may double inside of three years."
Evans said the push to establish an elite women's league would also benefit through clubs reaching into the community to find girls who were keen to play the game.
"We know the national women's competition is coming to us in a year's time, so we are saying if you are a club and you intend having a team either straight away or somewhere down the track, turn your head to making sure that girls are part of these squads.
"At 11 or 12 years of age, can you imagine ... what it would be like for a girl to have great AFL coaching from AFL staff from the age of 12, and imagine what she would be like in six years' time?"
Evans said it was time to ensure the ethnic mix of young players was increased.
"At the moment we have very low representation of Asian or, African is certainly growing, but still lower than the general population, and we know if we don't turn our head to that that we won't change those statistics."
Evans said the issue of Tasmanian regions would be dealt with after the tabling of a report into the development of football in that state.
Next generation AFL club academies – Victorian clubs region allocation
Western Bulldogs – Western Melbourne, Wimmera, Mallee, south-west Victoria, Ballarat, (North Ballarat Rebels & Western Jets)
Essendon – North-west Melbourne (Calder Cannons), West Arnhem (NT)
Melbourne – South-east Melbourne (Dandenong Stingrays), Alice Springs (NT)
Collingwood – Central Melbourne (Oakleigh Chargers), Barkly (NT)
St Kilda – Inner southern Melbourne (Sandringham Dragons), Frankston LGA
North Melbourne – Melbourne and Wyndham LGAs (Calder Cannons & Western Jets)
Hawthorn – Eastern/Whitehorse LGAs (Eastern Ranges), Gippsland (Gippsland Power), Katherine (NT)
Carlton – Northern Melbourne (Northern Knights)
Geelong – Geelong /Hampden (Geelong Falcons), East Arnhem (NT)
Richmond – Goulburn Murray, Bendigo, Sunraysia, North Central (Bendigo Pioneers and Murray Bushrangers)