Contributed by: Brett Northey
The AFL is planning to host the next International Cup in August 2011 in Melbourne, Sydney and probably the Gold Coast or Brisbane. For the first time in Cup history the competing nations will be split into divisions. The AFL has told potential competitors that "IC11 will be run across multiple divisions - to be determined by the final number of entrants". That suggests that if there are enough teams there could even be three separate divisions.
The 2008 tournament was originally going to have a primary group and a developing nations group, but the final numbers saw the teams merged into one competition, with some demoralising losses. With some new footy nations expected to attend in 2011 and the top squads now very accomplished, a separation is clearly needed if 150+ point blow outs (even allowing for shortened games) are to be avoided.
And in another exciting development the world's national women's sides will be welcomed with their own division. Possibilities at this early stage may include Canada's Northern Lights, the USA Freedom, Papua New Guinea (who have been successful with girls competing in Queensland), South Africa (which has had girls playing as part of FootyWILD) and Ireland, which has recently been trying to begin a women's league. No word yet as to whether Australia would field a side, although that seems unlikely at this stage.
It seems highly likely that 2011 will see a record number of teams competing across men's, women's and in three different cities across Australia's east coast.
World Footy News