Vying for a spot alongside South Africa is the USA and India. A USA match would coincide with the country's G'day USA festival, with Lauderhill the likely venue. Potential Indian venues are in Mumbai (Bombay) and Bengaluru (Bangalore) - the country's most and third-most populous cities respectively. Apparently Bengaluru is firming as the preferred Indian venue due to its more pleasant climate.
Andrew Demetriou, who made the revelations, seemed to be pleased with the results of last year's Dubai match, which brought together Australian business, government and much of the expatriate community.
The 2008 Manila Cup has been run and won, with the Philippine Eagles, Hong Kong Dragons, Malaysian Warriors, China Reds (Beijing/Shanghai) and the Hongila Dogs (extra players from Hong Kong and the Philippines) fighting it out in sweltering conditions.
The 12-a-side competition saw the five teams play each other once, with the Hong Kong team (pictured) undefeated to finish top, on the way knocking over the Malaysian club, giving them their only loss. That left the scene set for the Grand Final, with the Dragons going in favourites, and they duly delivered, winning by 7.4 (46) to 2.1 (13).
The organisers are looking to go again in 2009 whilst avoiding clashing with any other tournaments, and will most likely stage it in the last weekend in May. Clubs from across Asia or anywhere else are welcome.
In exciting news for Aussie Rules in China, it has been announced in an article on the AFL's website that the City of Tianjin is investing $1.5 million to develop a community facility that will include an Australian Football oval. The full story is So sews seeds for football in Tianjin, by Chelsea Roffey.
We've previously been told by people in the know of the fundamental importance of securing the approval of the Chinese government, something other major sports have overlooked and as a result wasted sizeable investments. It has taken key stakeholders time, but it seems footy has successfully negotiated this issue. Read on for more information about football developments in China.
In a similar initiative to the Melbourne football club in 2007, fifty international students were guests of the Carlton football club for their match against Fremantle on 24 May. The Australian National Institute of Business and Technology students, who were mostly from India, sat with Carlton’s cheer squad and experienced first-hand the excitement generated by the Blues final quarter comeback.
Yuta Kobayashi, one of the AFL's International Development Coordinators, was recently in India where he assisted AFL India with their plans to send a team to this year's International Cup. The AFL and AFL India are taking several steps to get an Indian side to the tournament, including recruiting a high profile Australian cricketer's support.
The Philippine Australian Football League plays host to teams from across Asia on May 31st. The Manila Cup lists the Philippine Eagles, Hong Kong Dragons, China Reds, Malaysian Warriors and the Hongila Dogs. Sponsored by companies such as Leighton, Metals Exploration and ANZ, the tournament will be a major milestone for the PAFL, which first formed in 2004 (see Aussie Rules gets its start in the Philippines).
The Chinese side, the Reds (not Tigers as listed on the poster), are the merged forces of the Shanghai Tigers and Beijing Bombers (probably mostly the expatriate Aussies). The Hongila Dogs will be a combined side of extra players from the larger Philippine Eagles and Hong Kong Dragons squads. PAFL organisers had been hopeful of the Dubai Dingoes making the trip, but it didn't turn out so the Hongila side slots in.
Meanwhile the PAFL's weekly games continue between the Eurekas (originally based on expat Victorians) and the Dingoes (based on "the rest").
Read on to check out the tournament poster for the 12-a-side Manila Cup.
The Jakarta Bintangs formed in 1995 and have since become a powerhouse of Asian footy. With a sizable expatriate Australian community, the Bintangs have been regular tourers around the Asia-Pacific region, winning the Asian Championships twice.
Junior football in and around Jakarta has had a few ups and downs over the years, with a league based around local Javans being held in the Pancawati area. This league - the West Java AFL - has since disappeared, a victim of the transient nature of the Australians and Kiwis who make up the majority of the Bintangs' membership base.
However it seems local footy is back in the area in a big way - a new development program kicked off around 3 months ago thanks to a grant from the Australia-Indonesia Institute and the placement of AYAD volunteer development officer Chris Bandy.
Around 4000 Indonesian school kids and quite a few expat kids have since taken part in clinics. Bandy is optimistic of seeing a local-run organisation off the ground in the near future, with a Jakarta school-based league of around 10 teams in regular competition, as well as resurrecting the West Java AFL. An Indonesian team at the International Cup may even be on the cards for 2012.
One of the world's oldest football clubs, the oldest remaining Australian Rules clubs and the only club to bear the name of the game's spiritual home is currently in crisis. In terms of world footy, the Demons were pioneers in China, setting up a China partnership which has seen the game exposed to thousands of visiting exchange students, businessmen and a team represented at the International Cup.
The Melbourne Football Club, trying to celebrate its 150th year, is suffering from a major downturn in its fortunes at a time when it was already at a low ebb. On the field the Demons have had moderate success in recent years, following a curious phase of making the finals every second season like clockwork (1997 - 2004). That sequence then broke with three years in a row of finals action (2004 - 2006), but they crashed in 2007 (14th), are winless in 2008 (0 wins, 5 losses), struggling financially and the fact remains they have not won the VFL/AFL premiership for 44 years. The club is now very much "under the pump". This is apparently also having ramifications for their links with China.