AFL confirms 18 Nations to compete in IC11
Friday, July 01 2011 @ 06:04 pm ACST
Contributed by: Aaron Richard
The AFL today announced the final list of 18 participating nations in the men's edition of the 4th International Cup in August 2011, and 5 nations in the inaugural women's division.
The countries that will participate in the men's carnival are; Canada, China, Denmark, East Timor, Fiji, France, Great Britain, India, Ireland, Japan, Nauru, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peace Team (comprising of both Israeli and Palestinian players), Sweden, South Africa, Tonga and USA.
There are four men's teams making their International Cup debut; East Timor, Fiji, France, and Tonga. Not making the journey are Switzerland, who were still hoping to make their IC debut earlier this year, and IC08 participants Samoa and Finland.
For the first time five women’s teams will also participate; Canada, Ireland, Papua New Guinea, USA and a combined multicultural and Indigenous team.
Venues in Sydney’s Greater West will host matches from Saturday August 13 to Sunday August 21 and Melbourne’s Royal Park will host matches on Wednesday August 24 and Friday August 26.
Two International Cup matches will be played as AFL curtain-raisers; before Sydney Swans v St Kilda at ANZ Stadium on Sunday August 21 and the grand final match will be played prior to Hawthorn v Western Bulldogs at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Saturday August 27. Both AFL matches will feature a ‘Parade of Nations’ where all teams will be presented at halftime.
AFL International Development Manager, Tony Woods, said the International Cup is a showcase of the growth of the game around the world and is a reflection of the diversity within our game.
“There will be up to 1000 players and officials taking part in the carnival. With 18 nations participating, this will be the biggest and most exciting International Cup yet.
“We look forward to welcoming the nations, watching them compete and experience the role Australian football plays in bringing cultures together,” Mr Woods said.
No expatriate Australians are eligible to play in the International Cup. Teams are comprised solely of amateurs who must be nationals of the country they represent. All players must have lived the majority of the years aged between 10 and 16 as a citizen of their nation.
Former Sydney Swans captain and premiership player Brett Kirk is the International Cup ambassador. Brett is currently touring nations that will participate in the carnival, and will return to Australia later this month.
Previous International Cup winners are; Ireland (2002), New Zealand (2005) and Papua New Guinea (2008).