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Push on to keep IC numbers up

International Cup 2008

As we move to just over four months until Australian Football's de facto World Cup, the picture of exactly which nations will attend is becoming less clear. In our last update we suggested that the likely number had dropped to as low as 14, not including teams based on ethnic groups within Victoria.

Since then India firmed, finally getting some representatives to visit the AFL in Melbourne, we heard of a slight chance by the French (but subsequently discounted by another official there), and the AFL have decided to not rule out the Catalan region sending a representative side. Whether the latter will eventuate is yet to be seen as it's very early days in discussions.

We recently saw a report mentioning Fiji as a candidate, but that is understood to be a mistake. Also coming back into the picture is Tonga, as discussed in New AYAD arrives but Tonga looking for sponsor to fulfill IC dream. The AFL are also believed to be working to secure Spain and Nauru. Below we do our best to summarise what is a very fluid situation - at the end of the day, nothing is finalised.

The amateur status of the game internationally obviously leads to the uncertainty so close to the event. Leagues are asking themselves if they have the playing numbers, the money, the time, and whether it is the best use of resources. Many nations hang in there with hope, rather than make an early definitive call. Germany is the classic example of a nation that could reasonably have aimed to be there but made the early decision to continue to focus domestically.

So at this stage no one really knows how many teams will attend the 2008 Australian Football International Cup. The range would appear to be from 13 to 19 countries (regions), with around 14 to 16 still more likely, unless the AFL pulls out extra measures to ensure 18 or 19 make it. We'll keep you posted as we find out which way countries decide.

2008 Australian Football International Cup - official entries and highly likely unless otherwise stated:

1. New Zealand
2. Papua New Guinea
3. United States
4. Ireland
5. Samoa
6. Britain
7. Canada
8. South Africa
9. Japan
10. Denmark
11. Sweden (debut)
12. China (debut)
13. Israel/Palestine (debut)
14. Finland (debut) - still a question mark in our minds but we hope to be wrong
15. India (debut) - still a question mark in our minds but we hope to be wrong

2008 Australian Football International Cup - possible but major question mark:

16. Spain
17. Nauru
18. Tonga
19. Catalonia

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Push on to keep IC numbers up | 8 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Push on to keep IC numbers up
Authored by: conyers on Monday, April 14 2008 @ 10:00 am ACST

I think if both Spain and Catalonia competed at the International Cup it would be a bit of a joke, it should be Spain or nothing. The Catalonia region has a few clubs and the Spanish national team which competed last time was made up from just the one club which showed in its results.
The AFL should also demand criteria for nations to compete in the IC such as you need to have a minimum number of clubs competiting on a regular basis otherwise teams just get smashed and its not good for footy.

Push on to keep IC numbers up
Authored by: Julian Clark on Tuesday, April 15 2008 @ 10:27 am ACST

My prediction is that the Spain Bulls will not quite make it to Melbourne, and that Catalonia will also not quite make it to Melbourne.

We have a scenario here which answers an open question from my comments to the "CEAFL comes to Zagreb" article. This is why you need to stick with national teams.

This has been my theory all along, and has been proven time & time again... case in point: China not making it to the 2006 Asian Champs.

Even if Catalonia and/or Spain did get to Melbourne it would be at reduced strength and more difficult to get numbers and other required resources etc. It would be a larger drain on the respective organisations to try and bounce back from.

If Catalonia can get special funding, lucky for them - but that shouldn't compromise the ideals. If we want to reduce cost, why not hire a boat and a bus, and just get 16 teams from PNG ???

... and if it is about self-funding, what happens in a few years when US Footy can send several self funded teams ??? do we lose focus on RSA ???

... and how can the AFL justify "working to secure Spain" possibly resulting in 2 teams from one country when the only obstacle in Finland's way is financial (they have the numbers, the drive & enthusiasm, as well as the structure on the ground to capture maximum benefit & growth from attendance).. how can there be focus on one country sending 2 teams instead of helping some countries to get there in the first place ???

I disagree with you Mark on the criteria for being able to compete. The promise of a national test cap and a run at the IC is a major driver in growth for a lot of nations.

Build it and they will come.

Push on to keep IC numbers up
Authored by: Brett Northey on Thursday, April 17 2008 @ 10:41 am ACST

I can see a reasonable argument for allowing both Spain and Catalonia if they are not able to work together. Obviously it's not the same as having multiple USA or PNG teams - this is an historic issue that goes back to the identity and independence of various regions of Spain. We're certainly not going to "choose sides" of the argument on that issue here. But the AFL can't expect to solve much bigger political issues that go beyond football.

I do agree that two teams from one country should not get extra attention above any other country, such as Finland, but I don't think the AFL are particularly doing that. Don't read too much into "working to secure". Having said all that, I agree the odds are against either Spain or Catalonia making it.

Brett Northey - Co-founder and Chief Editor of WFN

Push on to keep IC numbers up
Authored by: Julian Clark on Thursday, April 17 2008 @ 12:39 pm ACST

Politics & history aside....

the reason that it needs to be national teams is that Spain cannot get there alone and Catalonia cannot get there alone.

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Authored by: Aaron Richard on Thursday, April 17 2008 @ 06:26 pm ACST

Catalonia are a better chance than Spain are.

I wouldn't say never. Catalonia have the numbers playing, it's just a question
of funds.

Spain don't really have the numbers playing, unless they do what they did
last time and top up using Spanish nationals living in Melbourne.

Wait and see what happens.

Push on to keep IC numbers up
Authored by: Brett Northey on Thursday, April 17 2008 @ 08:51 pm ACST

"Politics & history aside...."

If only it was that easy Rooster! Guess we'll find out soon enough.

Brett Northey - Co-founder and Chief Editor of WFN

Push on to keep IC numbers up
Authored by: conyers on Friday, April 18 2008 @ 10:07 am ACST

Good to see that Nauru will definetly be competiting according the the AFL website as they got a major sponsor.

Push on to keep IC numbers up
Authored by: Brett Northey on Friday, April 18 2008 @ 10:43 am ACST

Excellent news indeed. We got the press release Wednesday, just putting the story together, hope to have it up today.

Brett Northey - Co-founder and Chief Editor of WFN