Contributed by: Brett Northey
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?
World Footy News