Monday, February 25, 2008

World Cup 2018 - Could Australia's bid fail due to rugby?

Although England is the front-runner for 2018 World Cup hosting duties, there are still a number of other countries in the mix. Perhaps the nation with the best outside shot of taking the finals is Australia, but first they will need to convince their rugby leagues to take a five week break.

For those that don't know, rugby is the king of sports in Australia and the owners (or at least main tenants) of just about every large stadium in the country. These are the same stadiums the Australian soccer federation will need to use if they are awarded the cup.

The problem is, the rugby season runs from March to the last weekend in September. Since the World Cup is played mostly in June, there is a conflict. FIFA is very demanding of pitch surfaces for World Cups (in Germany they barely let teams practice on the pitches ahead of the matches), so I really could not see them allowing other games played in the selected stadiums.

That means the ruby league would need to take a five-week break in the middle of their season to accommodate World Cup needs. The have changed their schedule in the past (most recently starting early in 2000 due to the Olympics), but as far as I can tell, they have never suspended their season (I am far from an expert on the AFL so I might be wrong).

The other option would be to shift the rugby games to different stadiums. However this too could be complicated as the ruby teams would surely lose money from playing in smaller stadiums and FIFA might not like the idea of having competition during their premier event.

So in the end, Australia's 2018 bid might come down to their rugby league. Will they be interested in completely changing their structure in order to help a sport that very well could become a challenger to their dominance of the sporting landscape? Or will they do like NFL owners in America and decide that the large amount of money they can get from the stadium more then makes up for the limited spike in soccer interest?

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3 Comments:

Blogger CACuzcatlan said...

I love the blog and I'm not trying to criticize or anything but you are wrong here.

AFL = Australian Football League

Australian Football is not part of either Rugby code (League or Union). The rugby league in Australia is called NRL, National Rugby League. The Rugby Union league, which also has teams in South Africa and New Zealand, is called Super 14. AFL is a different sport with a different (larger, oval) field and different scoring rules. AFL is the most popular league in Australia and is second in average attendance of all leagues world wide, after the NFL. Might want to try to double check with Wikipedia next time.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_attendance_figures_at_domestic_professional_sports_leagues

Thanks for the article. If I hadn't hit the blog today I would have never seen it.

10:40 PM  
Blogger adrock2xander said...

Ehm. Just no.

In Australia, footy or Australian Football (AFL) is the King of Sports. It was invented to keep the cricketers healthy and active in winter (as cricket is played in summer). The sport was invented a long time ago; not long after the english criminals arrived in australia and called the land 'their land'.

It's a stupid sport, just a lot of throwing and catching. Lots of Aussies who don't follow the game call it 'aerial ping pong'.

As for rugby, it's more prevalent in the northern states such as New South Wales and Queensland. It's a big sport as well but not as prevalent as footy.

Both rugby and footy are just as popular. Until the Socceroo's success in the World Cup two years' ago, football was nothing but a blip in Australians' eyes. The head coach of Essendon Football Club (footy) Kevin Sheedy famously said pre-World Cup qualification that Australians who watch or play football (soccer) need to get a life.

As you can tell, I don't follow footy or rugby. Football (soccer) is the only sport for real men. Kevin Sheedy is a fuckhead and he needs to fucking get a life.

Nice blog btw.

I once wrote on my blog about the immense task Australia has to host the WC. Check it out.

http://adrock2xander.blogspot.com/2006/06/australias-impossible-world-cup-bid.html

4:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

^^ nice blog!! ^@^

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8:54 PM  

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