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Melbourne in pole position for IC11

International Cup 2011

The AFL sought feedback from competing countries after the 2008 Australian Football International Cup. Probably the most interesting three issues raised were the timing of the next such tournament, its location, and whether some form of Australian side should be included.

The League has marked 2011 as the year for the fourth instalment of the Cup, and announced that the location was open to tender - see 2011 confirmed for next IC, location up for tender for more information. It seems that Melbourne is the very warm favourite to again be the primary host for the tournament - there are plenty of logistical and player reasons why this would be a good choice, although it may reduce the allure for some players and supporters (and therefore prospective nations) who have attended previous Cups. Perhaps surprisingly, the AFL reported not a great deal of feedback on the issue of an Australian side. The chances such a team would play the full tournament seem to be unlikely.

The AFL's Roger Berryman (Development Events Manager) was in charge of organising the 2008 Cup and will likely take the reins in 2011. worldfootynews.com posed a series of questions on what we could expect for IC11.

WFN: The AFL surveyed countries after IC08 regarding various issues. Overall, did you get a sense that they were happy with the tournament?

Roger: Yep, feedback in general was very positive and seems there had been a vast improvement on previous events… obviously plenty of constructive feedback for improvements raised. Main concerns were based around a lack of promotion and coverage through competing with AFL finals, and a need to provide more promotional material much earlier to assist countries pitch to potential sponsors.

WFN: Is there anything in particular that the AFL or you personally would have liked to have happened differently?

Roger: Definitely more involvement and support through our AFL corporate partners. The uneven nature of games is also something we have to find the right balance with.

WFN: AFL General Manager of National and International Development, David Matthews, has said the next Cup will be in 2011 and the location open to tender. Whether it be 2011 or 2012 was one of the survey questions; what was the general response from the nations - was a gap of 3 or 4 years more popular? What is the primary rationale behind 2011?

Roger: Three years was definitely the general consensus so on that basis we’ll be working on 2011. This keeps a consistent three year gap and means it won’t be held in an Olympic year (we went three weeks later in 08 to avoid Beijing).

WFN: With the location being open to tender, can you tell us a bit about the criteria that will need to be met and when the process will begin and conclude. As one of our writers has pointed out, if it were a northern hemisphere spring it would only be two years away already.

Roger: Realistically I can’t see us moving the event from Melbourne just yet, although Perth for example is one city to give consideration to. I don’t believe we’re at a stage that we would want to nor be in a position to take the event outside of Australia. The main criteria will be travel considerations for the countries, the venues for matches (location, number, size, condition, availability), whether we want both a city and regional involvement as per previous events and ability to showcase the elite AFL comp, ie: taking them to matches.

WFN: Will the AFL be calling for bids directly from Australian state leagues and international leagues, or cities themselves? Will Melbourne be required to bid for it or will it be the default location?

Roger: Refer above, we’ll ask our state leagues to consider.

WFN: There's probably a few overseas leagues that could organise side by side fields using the past example of polo fields or similar, as used at US Nationals. And there's also that new stadium in Florida. The biggest sticking point for internationals would be the ability to have AFL matches - obviously the AFL would have to schedule some games to accommodate that. Obviously that's a big ask - if it's a bridge too far at this stage, do you think it makes an international host highly unlikely in 2011?

Roger: My personal view is that it would be highly unlikely that IC11 would be held outside of Australia. That’s not to say it couldn’t happen and I agree with you that there would be fields/ovals o/s that we could use. An exciting part of the tendering process will be to find out how many realistic options we might have to stage the event.

I think we made some great strides with the event last year and probably just want to consolidate and make the priority of again enabling as many countries as possible to experience the AFL culture here.

WFN: The AFL also asked IC08 competing nations how they would feel about some form of Australian team being involved. What was the feedback on that and has the AFL given it any further thought? (Personally I'd like to see an All-Australian amateur under 19's play against say PNG in 2009 or 2010 as a test case, and if they are competitive but not dominant, look at including such a side in IC11, if the countries are happy with it).

Roger: Not a great deal of response actually, and what we got was mixed. My personal view is similar to yours in that I think we can find an Australian team of an appropriate standard to play a match or two against selected teams. It was interesting to get one of the new team's response that they couldn’t believe there was no Australian side in the competition.

WFN: It sounds like you might consider some form of Australian team to play some standalone games. We were loosely involved in some discussions about an All-Star international side playing some Aussies at the end of the tournament in 2008, but it didn't eventuate. Could that be on the cards? And does your previous response mean some form of representative side playing the full tournament is out of the question?

Roger: In relation to an Australian team… we had some good discussions about the possibility of having the World Team compete at the end of the tournament against either an Australian side or even against the Cup winners. That is, could it have been achievable (and worthwhile) of having the World Team play against PNG a few days after the GF. Extra costs obviously in keeping the players out longer is one drawback but worth further debate. And we certainly haven’t ruled out an Australian team competing as part of IC11.

I think my answers show we’re open to all suggestions but just need to fully consider the consequences both logistically and financially of progressing some of these exciting ideas.

WFN: Has further consideration been given to the use of upper and lower divisions, or is that debate further down the track?

Roger: Always a topic of conversation in here when we chat about the IC. As yet though we haven’t sat down to seriously consider our position for 2011.

WFN: Anything else you'd like to add?

Roger: I’d envisage a working party to be set up towards the end of this year to commence planning.

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Melbourne in pole position for IC11 | 45 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Feature Article: Melbourne in pole position for IC11
Authored by: Joel Adin Porretta on Sunday, May 10 2009 @ 01:43 PM ACST

Here's some ideas. If the International Cup was played outside of Australia why not have it in a country where it is highly popular. It's the second most popular sport in PNG and if the IC was played there it would increase the popularity of the game even further there and maybe even give rugby a run for it's money. Second if there was an Australian side there they should be called the Australian Amateurs and be made up of VAFA players. And last of all there should maybe even be qualifiyers to keep the blowouts minimal, see countries like Germany and France ect play and even see how England, Scotland and Wales go on their own.

Feature Article: Melbourne in pole position for IC11
Authored by: Brett Northey on Sunday, May 10 2009 @ 06:50 PM ACST

It wouldn't be Australian Amateurs if it was just VAFA players. That's something I feel pretty strongly about - if there is to be some kind of team representing Australia, whatever criteria is used, such as amateur under 19, it simply must be drawn from across Australia otherwise it should not bear an Australian name. My gut feeling is that there will not be an Aussie team in the main competition - hopefully I'm wrong.

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

Feature Article: Melbourne in pole position for IC11
Authored by: Michael Christiansen on Sunday, May 10 2009 @ 07:54 PM ACST

Last year we saw the Australian Amatuers (AAFC) team head off to Ireland and I think they played all IR games.

So, it's not unprecedented having an Aust Amos rep team going OS.

Feature Article: Melbourne in pole position for IC11
Authored by: Brett Northey on Sunday, May 10 2009 @ 08:38 PM ACST


Absolutely. It was drawn from Vic, SA, WA and Tassie.

Australian Amateurs Under 23 tour of Ireland

But it would be too good for IC11 - okay if they win, but not if they smash even the top teams. Which is why I'd like to see an All-Australian Amateur U19 side, so basically 18 year old players from the amateur leagues, play a match against PNG. If that is competitive then look at including such a side in IC11. It will be reduced by who is and isn't available, but I think it would be a worthwhile first step. Who knows, maybe IC14 then has an Amateur U20s. But by then we run into a separate issue - the best internationals will be in the AFL and unavailable, so artificially limiting the quality of international sides.


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

Feature Article: Melbourne in pole position for IC11
Authored by: tinka13 on Sunday, May 10 2009 @ 10:13 PM ACST

There is no advantage delaying playing some sort of Australian side. They should be a part of 1C11. I'd like to see a Full Australian Amateur side take on the World Side 3 to 4 days after the IC11, GF. Can you imagine how keen the best would be, to be chosen to play against an Australian side. Who won is not that important, but until we start, the longer we leave it, the harder it will get. What would the media say if the IC11 World side won??????

Feature Article: Melbourne in pole position for IC11
Authored by: Troy Thompson on Sunday, May 10 2009 @ 10:42 PM ACST

I would like to see the possibility of some sort of Rest of the World team. I never would have suggested this before the Peace Team, but I think that precedent has opened the way for other 'Non Country' teams. (Personally i am a bit of an elitist and I admit this train of thought is not consistent with that). The main reason I suggest this is that I think that nationals from countries not represented but are playing the game (such as in countries where footy is expat dominated, or financially not an option) and are considered good players in those countries may never get the chance to play in an IC, but may be much better players than those attending - thus devaluing the selected "World Team". It could be multiple teams such as Rest of Europe, Rest of Asia, Rest of Oceania. Not really for the sake of more teams but for the sake of opportunity and to some extent "inclusionism".

I have had comment on this before that it is bad luck and it just means those guys in those countries then have all the incentive to get the numbers and finances to get a team there. The guys in Germany come to mind for me, the league admirably wants to save their dollars and not attend IC, but may have a good number of guys who deserve to be there. I have no doubt anyone who played in such a group representative team would prefer to play under their own country's banner and maybe this would even spur those particpants to make that happen three years on.

Of course it is not as simple as saying "lets just give them a team" funding, coaching, support, team makeup etc.(and all the other issues IC teams have to go through would all be ahead of this). Just interested to hear whether anyone else thinks there is any merit in this?

The IC "no expats" policy is actually a foreign (no pun intended) thing when it comes to rep footy which for the vast majority of rep games ever played is selected from the best available players of a league regardless of origin or background - the high profile of State of Origin footy which by footy standards is a relatively recent concept has really only existed at the highest levels of the game. So it has not been unusual in many leagues for players to go into rep games having only trained a few times together - so such a thing could be organised on the back of a couple of trainings on the ground before competing in an IC.

Feature Article: Melbourne in pole position for IC11
Authored by: Brett Northey on Sunday, May 10 2009 @ 11:31 PM ACST

I like your enthusiasm Tinka, but being the full Australian amateur side, the scores would most likely be embarassing to the point that it could undermine any media coverage - very hard to trumpet the success of the sport or parade the champion team if the world then gets smashed by 200 points. So it really needs to be handled delicately I think. Hence I reckon start with a test game.

The whole world team vs an Australian side after the tournament as a major showcase doesn't really work for me, in that it really would be a problem to get the best players, as decided at the end, to stay on for a couple of extra days. And they will be very fatigued and never have played together, perhaps not even speaking the same language. So to put them against a fresh Australian side would be setting them up for a fall.

I don't mind some kind of exhibition of young talent at the end, but really I reckon a test case needs to be done with the aim of a restricted Aussie side playing the full tournament.

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

Feature Article: Melbourne in pole position for IC11
Authored by: Sean Finlayson on Monday, May 11 2009 @ 10:38 AM ACST
I live in Melbourne and personally I think it is silly to again hold the cup here based on previous cups all the best crowds were played outside of the metro area. At the very least another Australian city should get a turn - just my 2 cents. I also think that if the AFL can't get it right in 2011 with three already under the belt - it won't ever. The timing is perfect for this comp to be taken seriously, otherwise it never will.

With regard to an Australian side participating - I find all this conjecture about All-Australian sides very frustrating. Where there is a will there is a way - why not think outside the square. We have a game which uses a lot of players. So why not play an Australian side with a player number handicap Australian against the IC winner or World Team ?

Doesn't matter how good they are, if you played 22 against - say 16 or 14. Even super fit or super skilled players find this hard to overcome. My old club used to do this in intra-club matches between seniors and reserves and despite the difference in quality of players, it always resulted in pretty even contests. In our game weight of numbers is a huge advantage (think Barry Hall vs Broadford juniors ;) - just look at the difference less players made when South Africa were able to defeat the Convicts. Combined with removing the home advantage (i.e. playing it in another country), this would be a pretty simple solution for Australian participation and is as credible as any. Its simple really - play a couple of test matches first, gauge the competitiveness - then try the real thing at the IC. What's more is that the handicap can be easily adjusted .... just food for thought anyway.

Feature Article: Melbourne in pole position for IC11
Authored by: Michael Christiansen on Monday, May 11 2009 @ 01:22 PM ACST

The main issues as I see it around a 'best of' or the IC winner vs an Aust team effectively after the IC tournament is that an unknown team or unknown number of individuals will need to be able to hang around that long after the IC GF. They aren't being paid to be there and have jobs and families to get back to. It effectively means going from a known 2 week schedule in Australia to a 3 week one. Who will pay for them to stay around - - (the AFL and sponsors - - wouldn't that be great, but, not yet, - - - not yet).

Also - to try to 'gel' a team of 'internationals' in 4 days (language barriers???) after they've all just battled it out for 2 weeks (fatigue) to then take on a bunch of 'fresh' Australians would be a pretty big ask.

Therefore, to play vs 'Australians' - has to be incorporated into the tournament. Why not run a 'Flying Boomerangs' squad? It'd help highlight that. But, in reality - we then mix people who HAVE learned footy in this country with those who haven't.

The main question going forward might be around the merging of the multicultural cup and international cup in a meaningful manner - because, for now, the PNG lads and Scott Fleming and a host of Samoans and Kiwis who HAVE played footy in Australia were showing very much the benefits of that. So, the eligibility criteria perhaps needs a slight review?? Because, we now have African refugee kids playing in Australia who perhaps could just a validly represent Sudan, Ethiopia etc as the kids who represent PNG who actually now have 3 or 4 years of 'homeland' footy learning plus a year or 2 in Australia and so are actually AHEAD of the very recent arrivals here.

i.e. the logic of criteria that applied for IC02 when there was basically zero junior development OS is perhaps in need of review now that there are some meaningful junior programs in several countries.

Personally, I'd rather a 'rest of the world' team to be selected who then would build the core of a 'world' team to play in the perhaps the Australian country championships? (lowest division for now). Ideally I'd like to see an international 'junior' side in the Aust U18s national carnival playing in Div 2 (even if the international side were U21s for now - - and right now it'd probably be pretty well full of PNG kids with recent/current Aust experience)

Feature Article: Melbourne in pole position for IC11
Authored by: Joel Adin Porretta on Monday, May 11 2009 @ 01:47 PM ACST

What about qualifiers? Should they be used to decide who plays in the IC?

Feature Article: Melbourne in pole position for IC11
Authored by: Mudgee on Monday, May 11 2009 @ 05:17 PM ACST


I'm not sure you need an aussie team in the tournament. Everyone is talking about making sure the aussie team is at the right standard so the game is competitive, therefore when/if the international team does well against them, what does it prove? Just that the choice of aussie team was well done to make an even game. I also suspect that pretty much any A grade amateur club in Australia would win the tournament at the moment - even an Amateur U/19 team will dominate.

If people must have an aussie team in there, why not make it a team of aussie expats who are playing outside of australia? I.E. the people who are helping start these teams and leagues all around the world. Give them a chance to play on the G. You would get plenty of applicants, and the standard would be about right. Then you are showcasing yet another "international" team, but they play under the aussie flag.

Feature Article: Melbourne in pole position for IC11
Authored by: Eurofooty on Monday, May 11 2009 @ 06:12 PM ACST

Continuing on from Mudgee's suggestion..

How about permitting a capped number of bona fide off-shore permanent residence holding ex-pat Australians into the competition? I think the standard of the tournament is now getting to a point where a small number (say 20% ?) of Aussies (who now call somewhere else their new home) wouldn't be as dominant as some may think (over the gruelling duration of the whole tournament) and would really assist a number of countries getting the numbers and being more competitive (and increasing the spectacle).

No other sport (that comes to mind) puts a complete block on citizens from any one country being allowed to compete provided they have passed some residency test (3 years continuous documented (ie match records) participation in the local national competition in the case of Rugby). The EU Cup concept has demonstrated that a reasonable balance can be found permitting everyone a fair opportunity to participate. The benefits to the game, once these players have returned home, have been tremendous (in a majority of cases) to local game development and growth - and that can only be a good thing. An example of the on-field influence of Aussies are more diluted as time goes on (and as the level of locals improve), the top 3 finishing countries at the previous 12-country EU Cup in Prague contained not 1 Australian player. Neutral commentators at the tournament were surprised at how good these teams were.

While the AFL is continuing to pump money into some countries (the "haves) and not others (the "have nots") this could be a compromise in finding a "level playing field", particularly when participation is self-financed and some countries will struggle to get the numbers/be competitive and could use a hand. In any case, I suspect that such an initiative won't do anything to stop a New Zealand v PNG Grand Final for the next few ICs.

Finally, as for timing, if it is to be Melbourne, run the cup either during the NAB Cup period where interest for the new AFL season and the sport is high. The alternative would be starting after the AFL Grand Final when there there is a bit of a lull in domestic sporting action. If the standard improves and the local public start putting bums on seats, the case for finding tournament sponsors for the next time around is significantly stronger - and I think this needs to be one of the major reasons for continued engagement and participation.

Feature Article: Melbourne in pole position for IC11
Authored by: Troy Thompson on Monday, May 11 2009 @ 06:31 PM ACST

In reply to Euro footy. I can't ever see expats in a legitimate playing role in the IC personally - and I think I would lose almost all interest in it under that scenario (but if that was the overwhelming demand and the AFL agreed then so be it). After the GF you will be lucky to find a suitable ground that is not being prepared for cricket in Melbourne (maybe Docklands?).

If hypothetically, the IC was staged in Europe in 2011 with two years notice how many European nations do you think could attend with a squad of at least 22?

Feature Article: Melbourne in pole position for IC11
Authored by: Aaron Richard on Monday, May 11 2009 @ 07:29 PM ACST

Aside from it being harder to find grounds/umpires etc, a major reason I think it won't be in Europe any time soon - the countries in the Pacific couldn't afford it.

Citizens of European countries are far more able to make the flight to Australia, than your average Samoan or PNGuinean is able to spend what it'd cost to get to Europe. And if you're hoping for Nauru, Tonga, possibly Timor-Leste and Fiji etc next time... You could probably rule them out before they start.

It's still expensive for the Europeans, but talking equivalent terms, I suspect flying to Australia probably costs a bigger chunk of your average Samoan's yearly income than coming to Oz does for an average European.

North America on the other hand MIGHT be feasible economically, if you had the pitches and staff required.

Most likely if it isn't in Melbourne it'd be elsewhere in Australia. Perth, Adelaide or even Darwin might be a better choice. Maybe Tassie, I reckon the Tasmanians would love it... A round in Launceston or Hobart would be bigger than in Melbourne.

Feature Article: Melbourne in pole position for IC11
Authored by: Eurofooty on Monday, May 11 2009 @ 09:27 PM ACST

@Troy Thompson

Looking at a full 25 in the squads, there could be as many (perhaps even more) than 8 EU countries. This has been known for a while as the idea was first mooted in Hamburg in 2007 regarding an 18-a-side European Championships (under IC rules). The major problem here is that there is a massive hurdle to overcome to put on a tournament of this magnitude on the host nation(s).

@Aaron

Regarding a pre- or post-season tournament, I wouldn't think it too difficult for the AFL to exercise its influence in finding a set of suitable facilities for this event. Time is not a problem here.

Perhaps if the travel costs is an issue for the near-Australian countries, then holding an IC every 3 years may not be in everyones interest (particularly for those travelling furthest). Why not atleast 4 or even 5 years instead?

Regarding financing, the quicker the tournament the attract teams who select their squads based on merit, rather than availability, the quicker we will see a more competitive tournament and better spectacle for the Australian public (and sponsors) to get behind and support.

Feature Article: Melbourne in pole position for IC11
Authored by: Brett Northey on Monday, May 11 2009 @ 09:50 PM ACST


I think what this thread shows, as has been found before, is that there are no simple solutions - which is partly why no one is ever happy with what happens.

Re an Indigenous Australian side, I reckon no, because it would be considered divisive by plenty of Australians. If they are to play under an Australian banner then ethnic background can't be a criteria.

Re letting a few expat Aussies that have permanently settled in other countries represent their adopted country, which Troy was strongly against, I actually wouldn't have a problem if it was very strict criteria, like 5+ years, a significant role in development there, and limited to no more than 3 per tea,.

Re qualifying divisions, maybe, but the AFL generally wants as many teams as possible to come. Perhaps a better way is that the first 2 rounds be effectively divisional qualifying. Or really, I just reckon they have to have a development division like almost happened last time.

Re the timing, yeah, pre-season or immediately post-season would get much more attention in Australia. I reckon ovals could be found. But early season has the issue that so many countries have yet to start their season. I don't reckon that has to be a show-stopper if most countries don't mind. But as previously discussed, the players want to see AFL matches - as long as the decision is made to play the Cup during the AFL season I think attention will always be severely limited, unless it focuses around mid-season breaks (so the players may be able to see a full round either end of the tournament). Eurofooty, you were involved with Sweden's team at IC08, do you reckon many of your players would've not come if they could only see a few or no AFL games? I'd be very keen to align with the mid-season break and have the AFL really pump up a weekend of IC games, say the semi-finals and then GF as a Tuesday night match.

Re location, if it is in Australia, don't forget the Gold Coast. The new AFL club will be making its AFL debut, there will be two teams in the state so at least one game each week, a lot of development money in the area so lots of people who appreciate the difficulties of growing the game in new areas. And the players would appreciate the warmer weather compared with a Melbourne winter, and AFL Oceania is based out of Queensland.

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

Feature Article: Melbourne in pole position for IC11
Authored by: Eurofooty on Monday, May 11 2009 @ 10:20 PM ACST

@ Brett

Now that the team has been down, participated and gotten the Melbourne footy experience, I would guess that 2-3 live AFL games would suffice. Your suggestion for the Gold Coast, in that sense, if a good one with both GC17 and Brisbane Lions homes games within easy reach. Over the 3 weekends the IC transpires, this may result in 3-4 live AFL matches (not including any AFLQ games at Southport). And of course a warm climate and beaches would be a nice plus for those coming from the cooler climes...

Feature Article: Melbourne in pole position for IC11
Authored by: Brett Northey on Monday, May 11 2009 @ 10:37 PM ACST


I won't claim credit - I think Andrew Cadzow from AFL Oceania and AFLPNG mentioned it to me a while back. I don't know if he's still keen on it. Definitely a good tourist destination for the players, and I can't help but to think that just 3 years after Melbourne yet again, that it would be more attractive to so many of the returning players.

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

Feature Article: Melbourne in pole position for IC11
Authored by: Joel Adin Porretta on Tuesday, May 12 2009 @ 09:35 AM ACST

There's about 39 countries that have national teams. Maybe try an OFFICIAL world rankings system with the top half cometing in the IC.

Feature Article: Melbourne in pole position for IC11
Authored by: Brett Northey on Tuesday, May 12 2009 @ 10:10 AM ACST


But our unofficial World Rankings included all countries that could possibly have fielded a team of locals in 2008, and that was 22 nations:

World Rankings 2008

I think we'd all be delighted if that many made it to IC11.

In fact I reckon 16 teams would be a reasonable outcome again. I would've gone for 4 years between Cups, to make it special and give countries time to fundraise. But 3 years it is.

Without having asked them, I'd guess serious possible additions since 2008 could be Tonga, Germany, France, Croatia, Spain and/or Catalonia, and maybe Australia. And there's often an unexpected newcomer. But it's also a big ask for so many countries to back up 3 years later, so some drop-outs should be expected. Perhaps we can hope for 18 to 20 teams.


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

Feature Article: Melbourne in pole position for IC11
Authored by: Joel Adin Porretta on Tuesday, May 12 2009 @ 01:20 PM ACST

What if all 22 countries were used. I'm sure the AFL would help with finances for some countries. Each team could play 6 qualifiying games then a ladder could be made with the bottom 6 teams being eliminated leaving 16. After this it be a knockout series.

Feature Article: Melbourne in pole position for IC11
Authored by: Peter Parry on Tuesday, May 12 2009 @ 05:54 PM ACST

There's a lot to be said for playing in Brisbane and on the Gold Coast. It would be a real buzz for the area and would coincide nicely with Gold Coast's first AFL season and show to Queenslanders how the game is internationalising (a factor in the rivalry for fans with soccer and the rugby codes, especially given the GC's A-league president's comments).

But for seeing more AFL games a round could be played in Melbourne and then the teams move up to the Gold Coast. Alternatively the teams move down to Melbourne for the finals round and play the GF on the MCG as in the past - hopefully with far more publicity that there is a curtain-raiser. I was at the MCG that night and seemed most arriving Hawthorn and Bulldogs fans were unaware of the game until they saw it.

Feature Article: Melbourne in pole position for IC11
Authored by: Brett Northey on Tuesday, May 12 2009 @ 06:47 PM ACST


I suspect you'll never get many people show up early for a curtain raiser.

In terms of format, if 22 teams commit, I reckon put 16 in the championship division and 6 in developmental - call it something nicer like the Futures Division.

Realistically only 3 or 4 teams are likely to be in a position to win it - Australia if present, PNG, NZ and maybe Ireland and RSA. So a more radical overhaul could see two divisions with the top 8 and the lower 14 or however many. That would add some certainty in terms of knowing that the main draw will have 8 even if there are some late withdrawals. And it would significantly reduce the blow-out margins, something that really needs to be managed better.

The soccer World Cup that gets so much focus is actually the finals, but they have the resources for organised qualifying leading into it. Perhaps the IC needs to become more like that, the main division is the finals, say top 8 with two pools of 4 playing 3 quality matches each and then cross-over semi finals then GF (so sticking to the 5 or possibly 4 matches each - any more is not realistic). The other 14 or however many would then effectively be the qualifying teams fighting for a spot in the top 8 at the next Cup. When the main division's top 4 are playing semi-finals, perhaps the bottom 4 of the main division would then be playing off against the best teams from the bottom 14, for the right to stay in the top 8.

That idea is warming on me as I type. Am I off track or does that sound reasonable? It would add real interest to the middle ranked sides later in the tournament so they are playing for something real, not just jostling for 1 or 2 positions on the ladder. If the Cups are to continue to be 3 years apart, we've seen the quality of nations doesn't change radically, so it's not like the 9th team would suddenly be top 2 and cruelly denied a shot at the title. They would finish atop the lower teams and then play the 5th to 8th teams to claim a spot from them, and would then be well placed 3 years later for a crack at the title.

So two divisions, the Dixon Premier Division and the Barassi Futures Division. The top 4 in the Dixon Premier Div go through to the Championship Rounds, and the Dixon bottom 4 and Barassi top 4 fight it out in the Sheedy Qualifying Rounds. The remainder can then play off for lower positions (I won't be rude and suggest any names for those rounds).

If necessary, with many very new teams, you could even have top 8, next 8, and then the rest, and potentially include multicultural teams in there as well, like Team Asian and Africa which played on the side last time.

Thoughts? Maybe sounds complicated at first. Easier to follow than the AFL McIntrye Final 8 isn't it?


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

Feature Article: Melbourne in pole position for IC11
Authored by: Seth McElvaney on Wednesday, May 13 2009 @ 12:44 AM ACST

Brett, that's a pretty good idea. I like it.

With the talk above about the World Cup in soccer, I was reminded of the fact that there is no UK soccer team. Someone told me it was done that way because in the early years the UK would have been too strong and dominant of a team and so they split the UK in to the Home Nations. But I found that the associations in England, Scotland, Wales, etc developed separately (as did the state leagues of Aussie Rules). The secondary effect was that UK teams did not dominate.

So, what about having separate amateur state teams in the IC? PNG v. NSW. That should be a good match. You would have the prospect of foreign teams beating Aussie teams and at the same time draw the focus of all of Australia as folks would be interested in how their state or territory went. It might get the AFL interested in brining State of Origin back.

my 2 c

Seth

Feature Article: Melbourne in pole position for IC11
Authored by: Joel Adin Porretta on Wednesday, May 13 2009 @ 10:39 AM ACST

That sounds alright. In the the first Australasian Football Carnival back in 1908 New Zealand beat 2 states (NSW by 1 point and Queensland by 35 points).

Feature Article: Melbourne in pole position for IC11
Authored by: Seth McElvaney on Thursday, May 14 2009 @ 08:59 AM ACST

And to add on, if there was a real desire for a team from all of Australia, then that could be when you get an all-star team from the States and Territories v. an all-star team from the rest of the world.
In that set up all the players have about the same amount of fatigue, but would probably enjoy the game nevertheless.

I guess I'm up to 4 cents now.

Seth

Melbourne in pole position for IC11
Authored by: tinka13 on Thursday, May 14 2009 @ 01:23 PM ACST

All these comments show enormous passion for International Footy.
The AFL took over the administration for the World Cup (International Cup) after a fair amount of success at the Arafura Games in 1995, 1997,1999 and have done a fair job of promoting it, however this can not continue forever. When do you think will be the time for International footy to administer footy Globally, like the ICC for cricket and FIFA for Soccer? I am fully aware that we need the AFL for money and resourses, however sometimes, what is good for the world may not be good for the AFL, or visa versa! They have had 10 years to administer the game, I am interested in positive feedback with regards to this. I don't want it to be a winge segment, lets keep it positive!

Melbourne in pole position for IC11
Authored by: Joel Adin Porretta on Thursday, May 14 2009 @ 02:34 PM ACST

Some of the AFL administration could breakaway to form an international govering body that governs all league and clubs in the world including the AFL. I think International Australian Football Federation would be a good choice for a name.

Melbourne in pole position for IC11
Authored by: Brett Northey on Thursday, May 14 2009 @ 04:24 PM ACST


This has been discussed a fair bit before, so I doubt it'll have too many legs here. But I'll summarise some of my own comments from the past. Personally, obviously having worked pretty closely with lots of leagues and the AFL for a while now, I don't see the demand or the likelihood of a significant breakaway any time soon. If it was going to happen it would have happened about 5 years ago. Since then the AFL have made significant improvements in the attention they pay to the international side of things, such as leveraging sponsorship, working with AusAID, IC functions, creation and support of AFL Oceania, appointment of a liaison to Europe, much more information on their website, public spruiking for the cause by David Matthews, international scholarship lists, sending Sheeds around places as an ambassador, plans for more exhibitions (perhaps restricted by the global recession), etc.

No doubt there may be some individual nations that could point to a reduction in direct cash handouts. But if we talk about the top say 15 to 20 nations, overall most will be about the same and the majority will be getting more support than they used to - some far more. If the trend is improvement then I can't see a great rallying cry to change things. Only if it flatlines for an extended period or goes backwards would there be much of a push. Of course we'd all like the AFL to do more, but what is the alternative, build one from scratch? But what does that provide. I guess the question is not whether the AFL assist enough, but do they hold anyone back? I don't see how.

Talking to various leagues you normally get some grumbles here and there but rarely any sense of a need to desire for a revolution.

My prediction remains that this will only rise as a serious issue when several countries have player numbers starting to get to the same order (i.e. factor of 10) of Australia (so say 3 or 4 countries with 100,000 players). Or of course if the AFL turned their back on international footy. So when might we see those kinds of numbers? Very speculative, but off the top of my head, maybe RSA in 10 years, PNG in 15 years, then who? Maybe China or India or the UK in 25 years? But even at say 20 years, the bigger countries will still be closely relying on AFL support and integration, so a breakway by them would still be unlikely. So if footy really kicks on, maybe in 30 years this will be an issue.

The only area I could see this theory breaking down would be if the AFL ignored Europe, with so many countries getting going. In theory a decent sized European body could be set up and breakaway over the next 15 years, if there was rapid growth and no AFL interest. But unlikely.

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Brett Northey - Co-founder and Chief Editor of WFN

Melbourne in pole position for IC11
Authored by: Mudgee on Thursday, May 14 2009 @ 05:15 PM ACST

Actually, while the issues of time and place are important, the main thing the AFL could try to do to improve the participation rates and the team quality would be to find major sponsors to help teams with travel costs. I know this is the only thing stopping many nations from coming. And it will help some of the others who are already involved to field better teams.

Imagine the ultimate scenario where all teams flights and accommodation are paid for (we can dream!) - I am sure you would get 20+ teams, no matter what time of year, which location, or whether there was AFL footy to watch or not.

Melbourne in pole position for IC11
Authored by: tinka13 on Friday, May 15 2009 @ 12:11 PM ACST

Brett, hello and Mudgee, thanks for your input.
While we are discussing International Footy, what about the International Junior Tournament in Canberra. Is anything going to happen, because things seem to have gone quite. The AFL should go out of it's way to make this happen as juniors is (and always has been) the grass roots that all nations will need, to keep on progressing. I know RSA, PNG and NZ have quite a lot of juniors and I also understand that this is the very thing that is holding back the US. Brian Clarke seems to be doing a good job in the UK, but what more needs to happen to get juniors going?

Melbourne in pole position for IC11
Authored by: Brett Northey on Friday, May 15 2009 @ 11:46 PM ACST


Short of mass junior programs, the key would seem to be getting kids into clubs or creating junior clubs. And that requires clubs in the first place. In most places around the world where some solid junior programs have developed they have involved the efforts of current or former adult players from local clubs. Having established local clubs has played a role in South Africa, the British Columbia program in Canada, around the GGAFL in the US, in Indonesia, the UK and Denmark, etc. So as the number of adult footy clubs grow I think we'll naturally see more people directly making the effort to develop junior programs, or when programs are implemented, it means there are people there who are more likely to get involved. Often it's guys with kids of their own who want to see them playing footy. The other area often focussed on is things like PE lessons. There's admirable programs such as USFootyKids that have previously done a lot of schools work, but without local clubs, I suspect the jury is out whether it converts many to be players in adulthood. Would be happy to hear of major examples to the contrary.

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Brett Northey - Co-founder and Chief Editor of WFN

Melbourne in pole position for IC11
Authored by: tinka13 on Saturday, May 16 2009 @ 11:47 AM ACST

Brett, you are spot on about parents or fathers wanting their kids to play AFL. When a certain family arrived in Auckland, NZ, back in Feb 02, they were confronted with a club that only had seniors and a half baked reserves side. By the time that family left NZ in late 2004, the local club had established a Kiwikick (5's to 10's), U12's, U17's and a reserves and league sides with plenty left over. It was just plain hard work and passion that made that happen and a bit of footy knowledge.
From this grew a junior competition all over Auckland. Sustaining this sort of competition, is the real test. As when the people moved on so did the enthusiasm and experience and the junior competition. The Kiwi's have development officers who do clinics in schools (in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch) virtually every day of the school year and have had enormous success with this. They have close to 30,000 kids exposed to AFL every year, but because of the difficulty in setting up Junior Clubs, they can't get over the BIG HUMP. Many of these older school kids play seniors, but it is a problem, I believe that only the AFL can help fix in the short term, simular to what they have done in rugby states like Qleensland and NSW. NZ should for AFL purpouses become a state of Australia. What do you think?

Melbourne in pole position for IC11
Authored by: Eurofooty on Saturday, May 16 2009 @ 09:07 PM ACST

@ Brett

Respectfully, I must disagree with you on the point of an independant organisation ultimately representing overseas interests. The AFL has clearly stated that their priorities lie predominantly in Australia. I don't see this likely to change anytime soon - particularly as some established members of the AFL Commission have recently expressed that they "see the sport indigenously with little long term viability of starting up any form of self-sustaining professional commercial operation within any foreseeable future scenario" in addition to such statements as they "have only discussed international footy issues for about 12 minutes in 12 years".

With these sentiments coming from the top, there really must be a more urgent requirement to independantly lobby the powers that be to immediately review their perception of the overseas game (though this wont be easy as they too "report" to the clubs). Though the AFL Game Development continues to do its best and is applaudingly and encouragingly doing far more now than in the past, but it unfortunately is somewhat capped by the critical mass of limited internal resources, finances and other prioritised operations within the organisation framework (and the ongoing and costly "kicking 4 quarters into the wind" battle ahead to bring GC17, WS18 and perhaps TAS19 to fruition).

If the status quo frustratingly remains at the Commission level, I can see at some point in the not too distant future, the international bodies agreeing to form an independant organisation using their combined numbers/presence as leverage to lobby and work closely in partnership with the AFL, in its role as keeper-of-the code and world governing body, for more intervention. access and better use of resources and investment in order accommodate accelerating growth and take advantage of solid, self-sustaining commercial opportunites in new areas overseas - both in the middle to longer terms (there aren't too many quick wins here). So much more can be acheived and done far more quickly and effectively, if the political will at the very top of the game is 100% in support and setting the example for others to follow.

Melbourne in pole position for IC11
Authored by: Brett Northey on Sunday, May 17 2009 @ 03:18 PM ACST

Eurofooty, I'm not sure if you do disagree with what I wrote - I think we were talking about slightly different things. The suggestion by the poster "hello" was for "Some of the AFL administration could breakaway to form an international govering body that governs all league and clubs in the world including the AFL. I think International Australian Football Federation would be a good choice for a name."

So I interpreted that as calling for a separate world governing body, and I'm arguing that is highly unlikely in the next 20 years, for better or for worse. If footy grows like we would all like, then certainly at some point in time a true FIFA-style body will have to emerge, but that is almost certainly decades away. What you suggest in your post appears to be something different.

Whether there would be some more loose association of leagues, intended to work with the AFL and still recognise the AFL's role, which sounds more like what you then go on to discuss, then that would be more likely to occur.

But having said all that, I'm still sceptical. My opinion is that it would still be unlikely to be of any significant size in the next 10 or so years. I guess we could then debate what significant means. As we've discussed, countries like South Africa simply won't see the need whilst their support remains high. They will feel their own direct advocacy is adequate - all countries affiliated with the AFL are always capable of talking directly to them.

With AFL Oceania ramping up, I doubt there will be a strong demand there any time soon. I haven't sensed a demand from North America. AFL Middle East seem to be working well with the AFL at the moment. In Asia, we're seeing a regional body like what you suggest emerging, although it's likely to remain an Asian body and whether it will include the stronger growing footy nations of China, Japan and Indonesia remains to be seen.

Europe is a special case. Perhaps where it would be possible is the newer countries that have had little to do with the AFL including haven't attended the International Cups. If no one tells them about the AFL and the AFL don't go looking for them, then they may well be open to overtures to form their own association. I think we've seen that a bit in Europe in recent years, where the lack of understanding by some countries of what the AFL sees as its role has been a little surprising, for a few reasons. If the move towards an AFL Europe was unsuccessful then I think it would be reasonably ripe for some kind of association to have more teeth, be it ARE or whatever.

So I could see the emergence of a body at a regional level, to advocate as a block, such as we've heard Malte Schudlich at AFL Germany suggest. It depends whether AFL Europe gets up. But a world body as such, representing a significant portion of countries with more than say 200 players, my personal opinion is that it's unlikely.


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Brett Northey - Co-founder and Chief Editor of WFN

Melbourne in pole position for IC11
Authored by: Brett Northey on Sunday, May 17 2009 @ 03:29 PM ACST

Again to Eurofooty, you stated some pretty significant things as quotes:

... particularly as some established members of the AFL Commission have recently expressed that they "see the sport indigenously with little long term viability of starting up any form of self-sustaining professional commercial operation within any foreseeable future scenario" in addition to such statements as they "have only discussed international footy issues for about 12 minutes in 12 years".

If they are quotes, can you tell us which AFL Commissioner(s) said that and in what forum, such as emailed or a transcript? The latter seems bizarre, since we know that the Commission has spent longer than that with the IC Captains, and South Africa spending we believe has been discussed before.

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Brett Northey - Co-founder and Chief Editor of WFN

Melbourne in pole position for IC11
Authored by: Brett Northey on Thursday, May 21 2009 @ 12:04 PM ACST


Eurofooty?


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Brett Northey - Co-founder and Chief Editor of WFN

Melbourne in pole position for IC11
Authored by: tinka13 on Saturday, May 23 2009 @ 07:06 PM ACST

Brett, do you think the AFL should be treating NZ like another state of Australia for Development means?
Tinka

Melbourne in pole position for IC11
Authored by: Brett Northey on Saturday, May 23 2009 @ 09:51 PM ACST


Well it depends what that really means.

Some states like Queensland get a lot of money to grow the game, whereas more established states like SA and WA get much less, which is an ongoing sore point - though who do you take the money from?

So states like SA and WA rely on their own historic infrastructure and administration (BTW, I know you know all this Tinka) as well as cashflow from their 2 AFL sides. So just declaring NZ as a state, without that support, wouldn't mean much would it? And I don't think there would be much to be gained to have NZ in junior state championships - far more for them to compete at a closer level. But then of course the money doesn't seem to come forward for that sort of thing so easily.

I like the AFL's aim to get an Oceania team into the Australian U16 state champs.

Don't get me wrong, I'd love the AFL to say NZ will be treated like a state AND give them a couple of million to develop the game. Again, I've said many times, I don't see why an Auckland club in the AFL shouldn't be a target over the next 20 years. I know Wellington was once doing very well with local footy, but the AAFL has an excellent comp, reserves, do well in the juniors, it's the biggest city in NZ, the closest to Australia and has plenty of expat Aussies.

I think more realistically (in what we could hope for) in the next 10 years, would be if the AFL pump a lot of cash into NSW, like they did QLD, and NSW take NZ under their wing, just as QLD has done with PNG. Support them, develop a junior pathway, and the AFL should fund full time staff in NZ. Not a popular thing to say with the other cities, but I'd even understand if they focussed it all on Auckland for 5 years to try to establish a critical mass.

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Brett Northey - Co-founder and Chief Editor of WFN

Melbourne in pole position for IC11
Authored by: tinka13 on Tuesday, May 26 2009 @ 05:13 PM ACST

Brett, It would be great if the AFL called on people like yourself and others who are knowledgable with with regards to the next IC. The working party should have people with these atributes, AFL administration experience both local and overseas, Media experience, a Can Do mentality, Events competition experience. They need people who have got a Global View of AFL. Can you get back to all of us when Roger finally decides to get things cracking as 2011 is not far away! Thanks for all of the stories and information.

Melbourne in pole position for IC11
Authored by: Brett Northey on Tuesday, May 26 2009 @ 07:49 PM ACST


Thanks Tinka. We do our best to advocate for the international game, as do many people including the the Leagues themselves - some of them, just like us, are in regular contact with the AFL. I suppose we have some advantages in that we talk to as many leagues as we can getting their views on issues, but don't represent any one country or interest group, so perhaps we're seen as having no (or less?) biases.

But of course at the end of the day the AFL staff have their own restrictions they have to work within and their own opinions and all those other competing interests - I'm sure there are guys there who, if given an extra $2million to splash around, would happily do great development things. It would certainly be interesting (perhaps frustrating) to be embedded in the system and see exactly what can and can't be achieved.

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Brett Northey - Co-founder and Chief Editor of WFN

Melbourne in pole position for IC11
Authored by: Gavin on Thursday, July 09 2009 @ 08:13 AM ACST
On the topic of an Australia side, that would be great. Check out: The Convicts (http://www.theconvicts.com/) they're an amateur side, that tour countries every couple of years. Barassi supports them.
Melbourne in pole position for IC11
Authored by: Brett Northey on Thursday, July 09 2009 @ 11:33 AM ACST


Gavin that's a very poor excuse for a segue! :)

Actually if you search this site you'll find numerous reports on the various Convicts tours.

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Brett Northey - Co-founder and Chief Editor of WFN

Melbourne in pole position for IC11
Authored by: rev on Saturday, January 09 2010 @ 09:18 PM ACDT

all i know is is that come the next IC11..FIJI will be a team to reckon with...

Melbourne in pole position for IC11
Authored by: Brett Northey on Thursday, January 14 2010 @ 01:38 AM ACDT


Well if you look back to this story Cadzow: Fiji to finish in top 10 in IC 2011 the head of AFL Asia-Pacific (formerly Oceania) certainly thinks so too.

I could imagine them being around 7th to 10th provided they get a lot of existing sportsmen to swap over and start playing in the next 12 months. Hard to see them putting out a team better than PNG, NZ, RSA, Ireland by then. And teams like Nauru, Canada, USA, GB, Denmark won't go easily either.

Winning 1 game is normally a good benchmark for a country in its first International Cup tournament.


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Brett Northey - Co-founder and Chief Editor of WFN