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India confirmed for International Cup

International Cup 2008

The AFL today confirmed that India will send a team to this year's International Cup. Two AFL India board members, Ravinder Chadha and Pranab Bhattacharya were last week able to attend a coaching course at AFL House along with two Chinese delegates. This is a promising step, with India's previous attempts to send delegates to Australia hampered by visa difficulties.

Chadha predicted "rapid growth" for football in India in the next five years, and expressed his desire to see Australian football played in several of India's major population centres. He highlighted the possibility of matches against neighbouring China and nearby Japan (no mention of Pakistan was made) and even suggested that famous cricket stadiums such as Mumbai's Wankhede Stadium or Kolkata's Eden Gardens, with the capacity to hold tens of thousands of spectators, might be sought out to host an AFL exhibition match in a few years time. If successful this would be a big win, as in the past the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has been unwilling to open their facilities for external use. Ironically, the Indian cricket team were given Australian football lessons during their recent tour of Australia.

Football's growth in India was initiated by ex-Melbourne footballer Brian Dixon on his 2006 World Tour.

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India confirmed for International Cup | 1 comments | Create New Account
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India confirmed for International Cup
Authored by: Brett Northey on Friday, March 14 2008 @ 12:15 am ACDT

That's excellent news. No doubt there will be a healthy dose of spin mixed in there to talk up future prospects, given it is very early days for India, but that is to be expected. Great to see those two representatives finally make it through the system - the difficulties being experienced made it seem more likely that it would never happen. Congratulations to all involved for persevering.

Brett Northey - Co-founder and Chief Editor of WFN