AFL close to releasing IC08 draw
Monday, May 19 2008 @ 01:00 pm ACST
Contributed by: Brett Northey
The Australian Football League are hoping to shortly finalise a draw for the 2008 Australian Football International Cup. A full 18 team program is still possible, with the AFL waiting on just three nations to confirm attendance. The countries with question marks are China, India and Spain. AFL International Coordinator Josh Vanderloo explained to worldfootynews.com the likely list of nations.
There had been some faint hope of teams from Catalonia (a large region of Spain around Barcelona), France and Pakistan. All three were considered slim chances and did not follow up further with the AFL so at this late stage are not seen as in contention. In the case of France, shortly after one committee member expressed an interest via worldfootynews.com, another regular contact in France explained that the country would not be ready in 2008 to make the large commitment to travel to the Cup.
Vanderloo is confident the world's two most populous countries have the players to make it Down Under, with finances being the main issue. On China, he explained that "the last link in the chain" for funding involves an upcoming trip by Melbourne Lord Mayor John So. That's planned for Tianjin in late May. India is in a similar position, and as at last week, the AFL has one of their International Coordinators, Yuta Kobayashi, "currently in India working with their playing group". The AFL are quietly confident both teams will attend. However, after debuting in 2005 the chances of a return trip by Spain are fading fast, with neither a Catalan team nor the Madrid Bears based squad likely.
Either way, it is looking like a big program of international footy.
Returning after attending in 2002 and 2005
1. New Zealand
2. Papua New Guinea
3. United States
6. Great Britain
8. South Africa
Returning after attending in 2002
13. Israel-Palestine Peres Peace Team
Not confirmed but likely
In doubt and unlikely
Effectively ruled out
Some of the countries we think are on their way and could be possible starters in 2012
Spain or Catalonia