Contributed by: Brett Northey
After much speculation as to whether the British Bulldogs would be heading to Melbourne for the 2nd International Cup, it is with great pleasure we can announce that the AFL this morning confirmed the Brits will make it. It's believed three countries were struggling, most likely to ensure the necessary finances were in place, but 11 nations will now attend, with only Denmark withdrawing as previously announced.
The Australian Football League's Community Development Manager, Ed Biggs, has received final confirmation from all 11 sides and the AFL will now push ahead with marketing plans - more on this in a later article.
The International Cup is a large expense for competing countries, with airfares for up to 40 players and officials each to Australia from as far as Europe and North America. For a sport that is growing steadily but is still very much grass-roots amateur outside of its ancestral home, this is a heavy burden. However, it also offers a tremendous opportunity to promote their programs and give players something to aim for, and we have plenty of evidence that this keeps people in the game. All countries would be interested to know of further sponsorship possibilities, but it's good news for the Cup that all but one will now attend.
The current draw has two pools of 6 teams, but with the fourth ranked Danes unable to attend, reducing one half to 5 sides, the AFL is expected to make a small adjustment, possibly moving one country into a different position, to better balance the pools. Final details should be available early next week.
World Footy News