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Debate - World footy rankings 2008 - Peace Team, Great Britain and Catalonia

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In 2007 the team at worldfootynews.com analysed the results from international Australian football over 2005 and 2006 to produce their consolidated view of how the world's Aussie Rules teams ranked against each other as at the end of 2006. The results were presented in World footy rankings for 2006. We fully concede this is a subjective analysis, but we thought it worthwhile to give it a go given no other world ranking system is in place.

The focus was on nations perceived to be capable of fielding full squads of local players (non-Australian) under International Cup rules, including 18-a-side on the field. The 2005 International Cup results were used as a starting point. Teams were ranked from Australia at number 1, Papua New Guinea at 2 (just squeezing out New Zealand) down to France at 17 (just qualifying as borderline able to field a full all-French squad).

We are about to undertake this process again, using IC08 as the starting point. But this time we want to involve our readers. Not in an actual vote, which is too hard to monitor in terms of balancing out country biases, but in a discussion of how the process unfolds. So here we welcome comments from our readers and writers. The topics up for discussion in this piece are the status of the Peace Team and Catalonia, and whether to rank Great Britain as one nation.

The first debate then is whether to include the Israel-Palestine Peace Team in our list, given they represent arguably two countries. The AFL gave them sufficient status to compete in the third International Cup, where they finished 13th. Do we assume for now that they will continue to compete as a single entity for the next few years and therefore should be included?

Does including the Peace Team imply other entities that are not widely recognised as countries should be considered, such as Catalonia separate from Spain? A mainly Madrid-based Spanish side attended IC05, but have been fairly quiet since. Meanwhile the Catalonia region of Spain, which is semi-autonomous, has regularly fielded sides internationally but is not widely recognised by world bodies as a separate national entity. We don't want to debate the politics here, but at a purely football level, how do we rank Spain/Catalonia? As one combined Spanish team, or just the recognised Spain, or just Catalonia which appears to be growing better, or both separately, or neither?

What of Great Britain? The AFL recognises AFL Great Britain as the governing body there and they compete as the British Bulldogs. However there are leagues in England, Scotland and Wales, which could all theoretically field national sides, and some sports do field separate teams, under some sporting circumstances, but not all. If they did separate under International Cup rules, England would dominate and Scotland and Wales would do well to even field full sides. But England don't field a separate side other than the Dragonslayers which is used more as a developmental tool, for example recently drawing mainly from the southern regional league. Perhaps for practical purposes we continue to rank them as one entity?

We welcome your thoughts on the three issues above. Simply log in and reply to this story. If you don't have an account, you can create one by clicking on New User on the left hand side of this page, entering a valid username and email address and a password will be sent to you once your account has been approved (double check you type your email address correctly).

We realise some of these issues go beyond sport and are the source of great passion, but please keep your responses in the sporting context and constructive. It will be moderated.

Other topics to be debated include the status of Ireland's professional AFL players, the rankings from IC08, and which other countries should also make the list. These will be raised in separate articles - so please save your comments about them until then.

Maybe the final consensus will be that rankings just aren't possible for non-International Cup countries yet?

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Debate - World footy rankings 2008 - Peace Team, Great Britain and Catalonia | 8 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Debate - World footy rankings 2008 - Peace Team, Great Britain and Catalonia
Authored by: Niels Schønnemann on Wednesday, December 10 2008 @ 09:16 pm ACDT

Tricky things this. Here´s my go.

GB - Should be viewed as GB on a world rankings list, as they only compete as Wales, England and Scotland on a European basis. If this was a Euro-ranking, then let them be seperate. On a world scale, they compete as one and should be weighed as one.

Spain/Cat - IC will and should never see two rep sides from the same country (Is GB considered a country??). On a world scale and in a world competition the Cat's will be viewed as Spanish citizens, so "Spain" would be the logically choice here. Untill the Spanish are actually a better and more active side than the Cat's, maybe put the nation down as "Spain (Cat)".

Peace Team - Hard thing.
Is footy still active there?
Any programs/leagues coming?
Any weekly fixtures??
Weekly trainings?
Would they be able to organise a rep side, if the Peres Center wasnt behind them?
Untill they (the area) is represented by a sporting federation for Australian Football, I dont view them as actually a rep side. Dont know if they should be included. If they were to be. Rank them as one, as independently they probably couldnt get a side up and running (and these rankings are for countries only who can put on and fully fledged IC team)

Debate - World footy rankings 2008 - Peace Team, Great Britain and Catalonia
Authored by: Michael Christiansen on Thursday, December 11 2008 @ 08:12 am ACDT

If we take some guide from Rugby League - - Great Britain ought to be split. Peace Team - - - well, not quite Lebanon - - - but, certainly that an active number of clubs at least should be required.

On that note, is Nauru organised again yet?

Catalonia - - - if we want to just boost numbers to make it look good, then Catalonia get counted stand alone (and GB are split).

The ruling must be with respect to the football played - and if Catalonia play stand alone - - then, really, that's all that matters. For now.

Debate - World footy rankings 2008 - Peace Team, Great Britain and Catalonia
Authored by: Steve on Thursday, December 11 2008 @ 08:45 am ACDT

Interesting debate.Here we go.Well who among us see's Scotland, Ireland and Wales as GB I see it as England and the other three are seperate and if you ask the citizens of those countries they would agree so if they can produce strong sides then they should compete as such.Peace team why not with all the strife in their region whats the chance of either country to supply full sides any time soon so why not combine? Cat/Spain?? To political, if you allow Catalonia to enter a side will Quebec in Canada wish to enter a side as a seperate country?? Should you stick to recognized countries? I think so. With all these questions do we take in to consideration what is best for the growth of international footy?

Debate - World footy rankings 2008 - Peace Team, Great Britain and Catalonia
Authored by: Aaron Richard on Thursday, December 11 2008 @ 01:41 pm ACDT

"Ireland" at the IC has included players from both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, which is actually part of the UK.

"Great Britain" is not a country, it's the island made up of Scotland, Wales and England. The UK is the name of the nation to which they belong, this being Great Britain plus Northern Ireland.

Some sports organisations split them up (rugby, soccer). Some don't (the Olympics). In cricket Scotland is separate, but Wales is considered part of England. The Irish cricket and rugby teams cover the whole island.

There is an organisation called the VIVA World Cup who organise a soccer "world cup" for unrecognised/non-sovereign nations such as Tibet, Lappland, Greenland, the Basque Country, Catalonia etc, but FIFA aren't likely to recognise any of them any time soon unless they're an independent country.

If I remember correctly in Lacrosse the Iroquois indians compete as a separate nation to Canada and the US.

Debate - World footy rankings 2008 - Peace Team, Great Britain and Catalonia
Authored by: Brett Northey on Thursday, December 11 2008 @ 10:13 pm ACDT

I'm leaning towards ranking GB as one team since that's what they compete as at the International Cups at this stage (England, Wales, Scotland combined). I agree that if it were purely European rankings then worth considering the split up - and at this stage rank England then Wales then Scotland. I don't favour splitting them on paper for world rankings just to boost numbers.

Spain/Catalonia - still a very tough call.

I favour including the Peace Team in 2008 rankings based on their attendance at IC08 - 5 matches plus warm up matches as well. Otherwise there would be no way to judge separate Israel and Palestine teams, and as mentioned, not clear either could field a full side by themselves. Whether they would rank in 2009 would be dependent on them playing further games.

In response to Munro Mick's query on Nauru, don't know about their progress so far, they definitely had solid plans though. Will try to get our Oceania writer Fiona onto it.

---
Brett Northey - Co-founder and Chief Editor of WFN

Debate - World footy rankings 2008 - Peace Team, Great Britain and Catalonia
Authored by: Brett Northey on Sunday, December 14 2008 @ 11:34 pm ACDT

Re Spain and Catalonia. If we assume Madrid is barely active and didn't compete as Spain in 2008, then we can't realistically rank them unless we consider the Catalonians. And if we assume they would not compete as Spain, as indeed they competed as Catalonia at the EU Cup, then I don't think we should consider them in terms of ranking Spain.

So that just leaves the question of whether to rank Catalonia as an entity. Are we ranking countries only? No, because we'll probably include the Israel-Palestine Peace Team, and Great Britain. But I'm more comfortable ranking conglomerate teams, i.e. made up of a wider area, than a sub-area.

---
Brett Northey - Co-founder and Chief Editor of WFN

Debate - World footy rankings 2008 - Peace Team, Great Britain and Catalonia
Authored by: Troy Thompson on Sunday, December 21 2008 @ 07:55 am ACDT
Looks like things in soccer are not as simple as all competing separately either - looking like they will compete as Britain in the next Olympics.
Debate - World footy rankings 2008 - Peace Team, Great Britain and Catalonia
Authored by: Aaron Richard on Sunday, December 21 2008 @ 02:05 pm ACDT

Maybe the most telling part of that is that there has been no British
representation in Olympic soccer in almost 50 years, as the individual "home
nations" (particularly the Scottish FA) were concerned it would jeopardise their
future as individual sides in international soccer.