PLANNING is already underway for next year’s Inverell Joeys Mini World Cup, with an offer to move the event to Tamworth on the table.
Destination Tamworth business events manager Gavin Flanagan was a spectator at the finals on Friday before approaching organiser and founder Heinrich Haussler.
Flanagan approached Haussler with an early offer to move the expanding tournament to Tamworth, with the lure of better community support, more facilities, and wider range of accommodation available.
“I am reluctant to move it away from Inverell, but at the same time it needs more support and I am open to ideas,” Haussler said.
This year’s event brought somewhere in the vicinity of 2500 people to Inverell for the week, and was the most successful yet in its fourth year.
“It went really well and we saw some outstanding football being played, but we are looking at a few changes.”
Haussler would like to see the competition expand further to 16 sides in each of the four divisions, and is also contemplating an opens men’s division.
Talks are already underway to include more overseas teams, including sides from the USA and Japan, as well as more from New Zealand and Germany who attended this year.
Haussler and tournament patron and first World Cup Socceroos coach Rale Rasic are already in the process of planning next year’s event, only days since the Mini World Cup was held aloft.
The organisers are pleased with how the tournament ran this year but would like to implement a few changes.
More ground officials and sideline umpires are required after a few flare ups through the week, particularly during the U17s final where four red cards and even more yellows were handed out during a fiery affair.
There was also some issues with parents and spectators abusing referees, players and other officials – sadly the worst was to do with an U14s side on more than one occasion.
Haussler would also like to include qualifying tournaments in regional areas throughout the year with the winners given free entry to the tournament to promote junior and grassroots football.
The tournament organiser has said that as the tournament grows he is in desperate need of more support from local business and the council, as well as volunteers to help with the day to day organisation.
A media liaison will also be implemented next year to promote the showcase event and broadcast results.
“The tournament is so big now and is a showcase of junior football. If the community doesn’t support it, they may lose it,” Haussler said.
Rasic has already said that Barnaby Joyce, Adam Marshall and Mayor Paul Harmon should be ashamed that they have not thrown more support behind an event that brings so much attention and money into the Sapphire City.
If the New England town does not get behind the idea, Tamworth may become the next World Cup host.