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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.

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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.

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Brett Northey - Co-founder and Chief Editor of WFN