Contributed by: Aaron Richard
Reports in last weekend's Sunday Times newspaper in the Western Australian capital Perth suggest that the grand finalists from this year's WAFL (Western Australian Football League, the state league feeding into the West Coast Eagles and Fremantle Dockers) will play an exhibition match in the Indian city of Mumbai (Bombay) the weekend after this year's AFL grand final. Also mentioned in the article is the possibility of Perth hosting the 2008 International Cup, although this is still at the rumour stage.
World Cup For Perth
Aug 28 Digby Beacham, Sunday Times, Perth
A push is on for Perth to host the Australian Football International Cup in 2008. In a major boost for WA football this years (2005) WAFL Grand Finalists seem certain to play an exhibition match in Mumbai (Bombay), India, a week after the AFL grand final.
Another overseas game, possibly to South Africa, is on the agenda for next year. WAFL General Manager Grant Dorrington said negotiations for the Mumbai match were advanced. "We looked at getting a game up there previously but were not able to do so" Dorrington said. "But we are very keen for it to take place late this year and are confident that will be the case... From the WAFL`s point of view we are terribly keen to grow the game and matches in India and South Africa would aid us in that endeavour".
Melbourne has been home to the only two Australian Football Championship International Cups in 2002 and again this month, where NZ defeated PNG after 10 countries played over five rounds. Sports Minister Bob Kucera wants WA to host the Championships and is keen to take the game to South Africa in 2006, where the sport relationship between Australia and the Republic has grown after the inclusion of the Western Force in the Super 14 Rugby Union comp.
"We are interested in the Championships, very much so" Kucera said. "If the WA Football Commission wants to bid for that, we will be very strong in our support. I have already spoken to Andrew Demitriou and Ron Evans and others about it."
"Apparently the AFL game development department want the championship - which is expected to feature more countries than the first two titles - held in Perth. Last month the ten countries battled it out in Melbourne . The grand final was played as a curtain raiser before the MCG showdown between Carlton and Collingwood".
"Not only would the Championship be a boost to the economy here in Perth, it would be a great showcase for Australian Rules" Kucera said. "I am a huge believer that one way for Australian Rules to flourish is to create international competition. I have only recently returned from South Africa and there are 16 Australian Rules football teams in the North West Province and Gauteng, and there is great enthusiasm for the sport in the townships".
To capitalise on the growing interest, Kucera would like to see an exhibition game in South Africa next year (2006), possibly between the WAFL grand finalists again. He would like the game to be played in Cape Town—which hosted the AFL pre-season match between Fremantle and Brisbane in 1998—Or the Eastern Cape. Kucera intends to send a high-powered delegation to South Africa in October or November to try and tee up such a game.
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