Contributed by: Brett Northey
With just three months until the International Cup in Melbourne, there has been some confusion amongst countries over the squad sizes allowed. The 2002 Cup saw 30 players each, but some sides couldn't field fit teams by the end of the tournament. An extension to 35 players was argued for, and apparently some countries thought they had secured it.
Several nations had named or planned to name 35 players, and there has been some distress when they realised that the limit was again 30. It would seem sensible to allow more. In most games at AFL level, sides lose 1 to 3 players through injury each week. With 6 matches in a week and a half, it is likely that the International Cup teams will lose at least 10 players over the series. On the other hand, allowing large squads encourages countries to spend more on player transport and accomodation, which takes away from funding for development, so a balance must be struck.
World Footy News spoke with AFL Community Development Manager Ed Biggs regarding the squad size issue. He stated that "It should have been 30, but as one team has apparently already selected 35 we will look seriously at allowing that". Biggs said he would consult the International Development Committee before making a decision. Given that it would be devastating for selected players to have to be cut from rosters, and several countries have quality players they would like to include, hopefully the final decision will come down in favour of 35 player squads.
World Footy News