World Cup may be within reach

THE world’s best touch footballers could be coming to a field near you.

The 2015 Federation of International Touch (FIT) World Cup will be held in Australia and Rockhampton could be in the running to host the event.

Touch Football Australia chief executive Colm Maguire said he was pleased to see the event return to Australian soil for the first time since 1999.

“This provides us with a significant opportunity, in conjunction with our new strategic plan, to conclude the next five years with an outstanding goal of delivering this event at home,” he said. “It is a fantastic opportunity for our sport and nation.”

Maguire said Rockhampton could play host to the event, or could potentially host lead-up matches and training camps for visiting nations.

“We’re going to explore all our options,” Maguire said. “Potentially, from a long-term perspective, it’s an option.

“We’ve had a lot of national events hosted in regional centres; our NTLs (National Touch League) have been hosted in Coffs Harbour and Port Macquarie in recent years and we find that regional centres have the infrastructure and community support that is required to host the event.”

Rockhampton and Australian touch footballer Dan Withers, who will play in the men’s side at the 2011 World Cup in Edinburgh, Scotland said playing a World Cup swansong on home soil was tempting.

“In all honesty, I was going to play in Scotland and then that would be it,” Withers said.

“I’ll be 32 (in 2015), but now that it’s in Australia it’s tempting, but we’ll see how I’m going at the time.”

Withers said he was confident Rockhampton had the potential to host a match.

“There’s no reason why Rocky couldn’t,” he said. “We’ve got 10 fields, and with a bit of work we could do it.

“I think Rockhampton is a really good place to host because of its central location in Queensland and the popularity of the sport in the region.”

While the World Cup is more than four years away, the work will begin immediately, with applications from host centres expected to be reviewed early in 2011.

Next year’s World Cup in Scotland is expected to host over 100 teams with men’s, women’s, mixed and over-age competitions; and as the sport continues to grow around the world, that number is expected to be exceeded at the 2015 event.

Australia has an impressive World Cup record, winning every World Cup since the inception of the event in 1988.

The Australian Women’s Open team has one of the best records across any sport, having never lost a game at the World Cup in its 22-year history.

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