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IC2011 - Divisions
Authored by: Brett Northey on Saturday, April 24 2010 @ 01:16 pm ACST


Yeah, that's my thinking too - the gap between #1 and #12 may be pretty big - particularly if PNG gets anything like its best side there. But true that no matter where the line is drawn, whoever is bottom of that group will probably lose most or all of their games, which does seem harsh when the next team below them will be winning most of theirs.

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Brett Northey - Co-founder and Chief Editor of WFN

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IC2011 - Divisions
Authored by: Eurofooty on Monday, April 26 2010 @ 11:11 pm ACST
I put this up on BF originally, but though it might generate some more debate/comment here.
If there are in-fact 20+ teams coming..
* A premier division of 16 teams divided into 4 pools, while I realise that only NZ, PNG or SA can realistically win it, I think it is important to have an incentive to make all that effort to come and participate, and compete against the very best teams to gauge improvement since the last tournament
* A developing division of the remaining teams, where the top finisher advances automatically to the premier division in IC2014. The developing division could potentially include a quota for long-term permanently based Australians (5 years residency + passport) to assist with squad numbers, quality, experience. This intermediate, flexible step, while not without criticism from some quarters, has been in place with tournaments like the EU Cup since its inception. It has seen a number of teams participate start out initially with some Australian support but are now attending with squads composed entirely of locally developed players, with little drop in competitiveness
* All weekend matches in Melbourne to align with the AFL matches. Mid-week games nearby in historical Ballarat - travel by bus or rail. Use proper stadiums and hold games as curtain raisers to VFL / AFL matches, where possible.
* Pool games of 4 by 12 minute quarters. This will reduce the potential for blowouts plus help teams even more to back up and play another game every 2nd day. It's sheer endurance to play 5 games in 11 days, and be completely tested in terms of squad depth or decimated by players lost to injury. * Finals matches 4 by 20 minutes.
* As a curtain raiser to the final at the MCG, hold a World XVIII match (with the best players selected from the tournament) v Indigenous Australian / Australian or Victorian Amateur (VAFA) representative team, featuring players not in the final. Both for reasons of local publicity and to benchmark the playing standard of international footy is with respect to Australian based amateurs. Plus it would give more participants the MCG experience. If not for 2011, then 2014.
* IC11 on TV: Lobby SBS and Foxtel to show key matches live or delayed in Australia. Show matches on Eurosport, ESPN & Australian network particularly with respect to country involvement ie ESPN for US & Canada games, Eurosport for Euro teams etc Atleast live webstreaming and local language commentary of all games at the very minimum to give the folks back home an opportunity to watch and support their nation/players
* Find a major event sponsor(s) to help ease some of the operation and on-the-ground costs for the teams! It's costing many of the European teams around €100,000+ to get a squad down to Australia every 3 years, which, unfortunately results in the squad most likely to able to afford to tour, rather than the squad that deserves (based on merit & ability) to tour
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IC2011 - Divisions
Authored by: Aaron Richard on Tuesday, April 27 2010 @ 04:12 pm ACST

Hi Phil,

I can see your line of thinking, but I still vote for a smaller first division. The standard gap will be just too big from 1st to 16th, people aren't going to want that after seeing games like NZ vs India at the 2008 cup.

But there is of course the issue of where you draw the line between first and second division teams. Some such as Sweden/Canada/Samoa could be the ones on the cusp, and might be aggrieved at being put in division 2.

It was interesting to note at the 2008 cup though, from memory a fair number of teams requested to be in division 2, before the AFL ended up combined it all into one.

The good news is that the AFL is looking for feedback on this, so let's keep the discussion going.

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IC2011 - Divisions
Authored by: Cam Homes on Tuesday, April 27 2010 @ 04:56 pm ACST

G'day Eurofooty
A premier division of 16 teams will repeat what happened last IC, the bottom teams being smashed by the top teams(repeats of NZ v India 200 to zilch). Just not good for the teams, players, spectators or for international footy all round. Even if the pools games are shortened maybe we might reduce the drubbings to 120 or 150 to 0 (still Cr-p for all concerned. IF you want to be the guy who has to tell the likes of France, China or Finland that they have to take on NZ or PNG or South Africa then be my guest.
If you have a look at the top 16 on the proposed Ranking scheme(use it only as a guide if you like) there is a gap between 10th and 12th and then another bigger gap between 12th and 14th (assuming Germany and Peace Team aren't coming) We are now into probably the Fourth Tier of teams Finland and India etc. My guess India is very likely a non-starter so 16 teams will most likely include at least one team that has never competed at 18-a-side level internationally.

Most of what you say in the rest of your comment I can go along with, but even 100-0 games have to be avoided especially if you want matches played as curtain raisers to AFL games or even VFL games. The' target' spectators need to be the wide range of immigrant Aussies living in Victotia as much as the normal AFL team follower/supporter if not more so. Those spectators will be more likely and happier to fork out a few dollars entry fee to barrack for their "home" nation team if they can be reasonably sure they are will be watching 'their' team at least score a few goals even tho they mightn't win too often.
I really do believe that a smaller premier division is vital at this stage of International Footy's development, maybe a top 16 at IC14 when hopefully there are more nations competing more 'regularly' at an international level.
Cam

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IC2011 - Divisions
Authored by: Brett Northey on Tuesday, April 27 2010 @ 07:21 pm ACST

Hi Eurofooty,

I agree with most of your points, in fact some of us at WFN have argued for many of those points too over the years. In particular:

  • a fixed number in the premier division, and developing nations division for the remainder
  • Ballarat has been suggested (rumoured) as a candidate for country rounds
  • shorter quarters; IC is always shorter quarters but I think 2008 had longer quarters than 2005, which was a step in the wrong direction, I'd probably go 14 mins for minor round, 18 for the finals. But if they were to go as short as 12 mins, since 12x4 is 48 mins total, I'd also give some thought to 22x2 halves instead, since stop starting for 1/4 breaks is a bit unnecessary and time consuming
  • playing a World 18 against some form of Australian side; agree in principle, in fact we tried to get a similar concept up along with the AFL Oceania guys in 2008. The idea being pushed by Andrew Cadzow was to make it a social event for all the teams to attend, but also feature the best say under 23 players, against a quality local junior side. The need has dissipated somewhat now that the World 18 and South Pacific are playing in the AFL Under 16s (as Under 18/19s). An open age World 18 would be interesting but obviously very much weakened if the grand finalists were unavailable. It'd be nice to get a major sponsor on board for that and bring them all out separately say in 2011 to play a couple of games against different tiers of Australian sides
  • lobbying SBS or Foxtel to cover on TV; that'd be a great thing
  • getting a major sponsor; we all say it every year, let's hope the AFL are trying hard, no doubt countries are again lobbying them for support

Where I disagree is a 16 team premier division. As Cam said, that is a recipe for absolute beltings. I know you speak from experience as an official with Sweden in 2008, but there seems to me to be an increasing acceptance by teams in the middle ranks (say 8 to 14) that they can't compete with the very top nations at this stage so why spend those €100,000+ just to get thrashed in 3 or 4 of your 5 games?

Our poll seems to indicate that most people are happy with 12 or less teams in the top division. Do you have a feeling for what most of the current Sweden players would like? They're right on the boundary of what might be a dividing line between divisions. If it went top 12 then based on 2008 Sweden would be in - IC08 finishing positions. Similarly our 2008 rankings, assuming no Australian side competes, would have Sweden 12th - World Rankings 2008.

I just fear 13th and certainly 16th would just get demolished in every game and it would do more harm to them than good.

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Brett Northey - Co-founder and Chief Editor of WFN

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