Contributed by: Brett NortheyThe Brian Clarke-led IAFC (disputed - see note below) have announced that they are to hold a 'Australian Football World Cup' in Melbourne in 2008. The IAFC have issued an announcement via a dedicated webpage, however as the Australian Football League is understood to be planning the third International Cup also to be held in Melbourne in 2008 it is as yet unclear what the political ramifications of this announcement will be.
It first appeared that the tournament was aimed at being a rival to the AFL's, although with the vast majority of the top countries affiliated with the AFL, such a move would be unlikely to draw the best nations. However, Clarke has since advised that he does not expect the top countries to attend. From the Bigfooty International Footy discussion forum "We do not expect any of the countries attending the 2005 International Cup to attend the World Cup". He also stated that the tournament will be played under exactly the same eligibility rules as the "Rugby Union World Cup". So it seems that the event is more likely to be an expansion of the current Multicultural Cup series, but with some of the newer developing football countries possibly attending, and sides with largely expatriate Australians or Australians who are recently descended from immigrants. Although it must be noted that this is at odds with their website which suggests teams such as the US, New Zealand and South Africa may come, despite their expected attendence at the 2005 and 2008 International Cups. Certainly it will be interesting to see if the announcement causes any changes to international footy.
Note: As we have included a link to the IAFC World Cup webpage, we feel we should note that the implication of the page that the organisation was responsible for the 2002 International Cup is sometimes disputed, in that some are of the opinion that the original IAFC responsible for that event was wound up in 2002 and is unrelated to the new IAFC. This break is denied by Clarke (though we were unable to find any supporting voices) and has been well debated elsewhere - it will be up to individuals to decide.
World Footy News