AFL targets Queensland and Sydney for next International Cup
Saturday, August 07 2010 @ 02:57 pm ACST
Contributed by: Brett Northey
The Australian Football League has written to Australian football playing nations outlining its preliminary plans to stage the fourth Australian Football International Cup across three Australian states. They have called for nominations by Friday 27th August 2010.
The initial schedule suggests the welcoming evening will be in Melbourne (Victoria) on Saturday 6th August 2011, with two rounds of matches at Royal Park (Sunday 7th August and Wednesday 10th August).
The tournament would then move to Sydney (NSW) for two rounds (Sunday 14th August and Wednesday 17th August), including at Blacktown, home of the 18th AFL club, currently called Greater Western Sydney.
The finals (5th round) would then be played on the Gold Coast or in Brisbane (both in southeast Queensland), possibly in the vicinity of the AFL's 17th club the Gold Coast Suns, on Saturday 20th August, with a closing ceremony the following day.
Perhaps equally significant as the move to more than just Melbourne as the primary host is the plan to not stage the Grand Final at the MCG. This was always going to be a potential downside to the tournament shifting away from Melbourne, but allows the sport's international growth to be exposed to far wider audience.
The AFL will again expect countries to fund their accommodation and international travel, but significantly they are intending to "underwrite all internal transfer costs. As a result of this commitment, we will be seeking a commercial partnership agreement to support this undertaking and will therefore delay finalising the tour schedule until this has been secured. At a minimum however, we are committed to travelling to Sydney".