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Santiago Saints headed to Rio for Brazil's first-ever footy match

South America

Los Santos de Santiago, Chile's first Australian rules football club, will head to Rio de Janeiro in Brazil on Saturday June 20th for a match against a team called the "Carnaval", drawn from expat Aussies and locals in Rio and São Paolo.

The Carnaval will be the first-ever Brazilian team to take the pitch. Rob Spurr from Los Santos tells us the game was conceived at a business dinner last November in Sao Paulo, where he met with Australian Trade Commissioner for Brazil, Greg Wallis. Wallis has since taken the steps required to pull a team together from across Brazil, as well as securing a ground and sponsors.

Spurr also mentions the Santiago club is going from strength to strength, with the Saints setting themselves the goal of having a Chilean team at the IC11 in Melbourne. "We had 29 to our first training for 2009 in April, including 19 Chileans. Last week we held our first intra club test match - Chile v Anzacs whereby the Chilean side played as a national team for the first team in front of about 100 spectators."

"Whilst the Anzacs were victorious on the day, the Chilean side were competitive and have the basis of a decent side to work with."

"Our committee hopes to kick off a minor league format by later this year and we are still shooting to have the Chilean national team at the 2011 International Cup in Melbourne."

Spurr also confirmed Los Santos are planning to return to Argentina for another tour match this year, and are hopeful that the Rio match should see a side from Brazil also make the trip down to Buenos Aires.

Anyone interested in footy in Chile can contact the Santiago Saints via their Facebook group.

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Santiago Saints headed to Rio for Brazil's first-ever footy match | 4 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Santiago Saints headed to Rio for Brazil's first-ever footy match
Authored by: Brett Northey on Tuesday, June 09 2009 @ 02:09 pm ACST

It would be great to get the first South American team down to IC11. It's a continent full of potential - big populations, growing success in Rugby shows they don't mind contact sports, growing economies and much more politically stable than in the past.

But it does indicate again the need for a development division. Many of these guys will be 1 to 3 years into their footy careers. Against India, China, Peace Team, Finland, France, Germany (assuming some of these teams come for IC11) there would be some good solid losses but also some good contests most likely. Against the middle ranked sides it would start to get ugly, but against the top sides it becomes silly. At IC02 the biggest margin was 162, for IC05 it was 102, for IC08 it was 229 (no, not a typo). I think if we went with the current format these margins will continue to grow. The reason IC05 didn't have a larger maximum margin was because there was only one new team, Spain, and they seemed to have some guys with experience pulled from somewhere. I think 2008 was a mistake but partially forced by circumstance, but 2011 must avoid it, we don't ever want to see a 300-0 result in 4 x 17 minute matches.

Good luck to Chile and Brazil and let's get the International Cup structure right in 2011 to encourage countries like Chile to enter and get maximum benefit from what is overall a great event.

Brett Northey - Co-founder and Chief Editor of WFN

Santiago Saints headed to Rio for Brazil's first-ever footy match
Authored by: Eurofooty on Tuesday, June 09 2009 @ 10:57 pm ACST

Brett, given everything that you've just said, wouldn't it be better in the long term to skip the International Cups and focus on a South American regional championships instead? (As an aside, perhaps future International Cups should be based on the top x finishers in the regional championships) As an off-the-cuff generalisation, I can't see too many European teams (as an example) spending some like AUD$100,000+ to get a full squad to Australia for 3 weeks just to play in a Division 2 competition (which is poorly supported by the local public, will attract little media attention and most likely see these teams playing on average grounds -> harder to attract local team sponsors).

I feel this was one of the prime arguments against splitting into divisions in 2008. For some of those working at the coal face, the jury is still out in the true return on investment in attending an IC at all and its actual returns/benefits to the game once back home. The other issue is that the current model is heavily weighed in favour of the teams nearest to Australia or for those lucky few already getting significant funding from the AFL. Making up the numbers isn't a sound case for attendance.

Santiago Saints headed to Rio for Brazil's first-ever footy match
Authored by: Brett Northey on Tuesday, June 09 2009 @ 11:29 pm ACST

The South Americans seem to be doing okay with travel already, so I don't think the International Cup every 3 years would stop them having their own championships.

In terms of whether playing in a developmental division would put some countries off from attending, we have seen that argued years ago and I tended to believe it would be true, but in more recent times I don't think it holds so true. The gap is enormous between the top teams and new starters, and I know certainly some of the lower ranked countries would prefer a separate division - I don't know what the overall Swedish opinion would be. Sweden would reasonably expect to be a middle ranked side next time if there were a bunch of new countries competing. But if countries below the top 6 or 7 seriously think they are any chance of winning... if they follow international footy at all they know that isn't realistic. They come to represent their country with pride and perform as well as they can, they come to see AFL matches, they come to sightsee, they come to play their sport.

Since regional qualifying doesn't seem to be on the agenda (but I'm personally open to ideas) I think consideration should be given to qualifying for the next Cup (e.g. 2014) being tied into the current Cup (e.g. 2011). That way the middle sides have something to play for - the ability to qualify for the Champions Division at the next Cup. The main case against regional qualifying, I think, is the AFL want as many teams along as possible.

As to whether people at the coal face think there is adequate return on investment, the same issue is discussed each time by those people, and thus far the majority of countries that are in a position to travel have done so. Personally I think just a 3 year gap again, possibly in the same city for the 4th time in a row, and just as the world (hopefully) is coming out of a major recession, will put this to the greatest test so far.

In terms of weighted to the countries nearest Australia, yes and no. For NZ it's a big advantage (although some have argued Australia is not an exotic location to Kiwis so they don't get some of their best players), but for most other countries in the region, they are also the least affluent, so I suspect it balances out in money terms. Having said that, I'm all for serious consideration of other venues as has been discussed in other threads.

Brett Northey - Co-founder and Chief Editor of WFN

Santiago Saints headed to Rio for Brazil's first-ever footy match
Authored by: Ash Nugent on Friday, June 12 2009 @ 12:25 pm ACST

Why not hold the IC on one of the Pacific Islands?

It would be a win for the country, with huge tourism dollars pumped into their economy. On top of this it would be a win for football with tens of thousands exposed to the game. If run properly the end of the IC could see the launch of a national competition (get locals interested, then get them involved, then keep them interested).

Currently it's the Pacific nations that struggle most to fund the trip. This would make the tournament significantly cheaper for them and would encourage other Pacific nations like Fiji to set-up their own footy programs and send a team along. And whilst it would no doubt be a little more expensive for the other countries, I do believe their players are generally more-able to afford the trip. Encourage players to take their families along and take advantage of the region's holiday appeal once the tournament wraps up.

Best of all is that none of the other major football codes could properly replicate the move, due to their advanced international standing. Sure FIFA could pump a few million dollars into that country's soccer program but I believe a live tournament would be more effective.