Nearly 3 years ago we reported on a story that first appeared on Channel 9's The Footy Show which said that a Turkish-Australian was developing the concept of the Essendon versus Collingwood ANZAC Day blockbuster being staged in Istanbul, Turkey, in 2015 for the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli landings in World War One.
The Age is reporting that the concept is not dead, in fact the man driving it, Ismail Ozsoy, claims to have secured written support from the Turkish government and succeeded in getting major sponsors on board. Ozsoy is quoted as saying that:
''I don't want to get everyone too excited because if they [AFL] are not excited, there is no point.
''But they [Turkish government and businesses] have said 90 per cent. When it comes through the channels it has come from, and they have given it to me in writing as well, it doesn't matter whether the government goes by 2015, because it has been approved, it has to happen. But, of course, it takes two to tango.''
Martin Flanagan writes for the Age and is one of the few footy writers in mainstream AFL media who has been on-board with the International Cup. In particular Martin has followed the Peace Team, and recently he published this story Kick-to-kick in a rocket zone
It is "...an account of footy in a war zone written by Kevin Nafte, an Israeli member of the AFL Peace Team, to his Israeli and Palestinian teammates. It is in the spirit of the Peace Team ''dialogues'' in which players from both sides were encouraged to express their views to each other.
Six teams are set to contest the 2010-11 AFL Middle East season, which will kick off in October. In surprising news the Dubai Heat, who have been Premiers in the league’s only two seasons are apparently not taking part. This season will consist of five Home and Away matches, plus a Grand Final and playoff for Third and Fourth position.
Read on for the complete fixture and club previews.
The Dubai Heat have again been crowned AFL Middle East Premiers, cementing their position as the most successful Australian Football club in the region. Whilst their competitor in the Grand Final, the Abu Dhabi Falcons, were missing a few star players due to injury and other commitments, ultimately it was a solid effort from the Heat that won them the match.
In the AFL Middle East season proper, each team plays each other once and the Falcons-Heat contest was scheduled for the final round. This match had gone down to the wire; the Heat edging out the Falcons by a slender two points. Whilst the victor remained the same in the Grand Final, the score line didn’t - Dubai this time registering a 54 point victory.
The second AFL Middle East season is drawing to a close. The last round is still to be completed, but the Grand Finalists have already been determined. Ironically these two clubs, reigning champions the Dubai Heat and their neighbours the Abu Dhabi Falcons, will also face off in the final round.
It has only taken two matches for the new boys of AFL Middle East, the Bahrain Blues, to join the winners list. They defeated last year’s Grand Finalists, the Muscat Magpies 12.14 (86) to 11.9 (75) in front of a home crowd.
AFL Middle East will this Friday begin its second season. All teams from the very successful inaugural season return, joined by the newly formed Bahrain Blues.
The additional team creates a bye in the fixture each week. This season is comprised of seven rounds plus the Grand Final, and will conclude in March 2010. No doubt the Dubai Heat will be keen to continue their dominance of Middle Eastern football and again take home the silverware. The eagerly awaited rematch between last year’s two Grand Finalists is due in Round 3.