M-1 Challenge 2009 Schedule Announced

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M-1 Global CEO Vadim Finkelstein and COO Joost Raimond officially announced that the M-1 Challenge will expand from 10 teams in 2008 to 16 teams in 2009. New entrants include a second team from the U.S. along with teams from England, Brazil, Australia/New Zealand, China, and Turkey.

Additionally, company officials have revealed that the second season of the M-1 Challenge will kick off on Feb. 21 in Seattle, Washington at the Emerald Queen Casino. The 2009 season opener will feature a triple-header with three head-to-head matchups taking place between Team USA 1 vs. Brazil, France vs. South Korea, and Finland vs. Benelux (Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Nederlands).

In March, the M-1 Challenge will head to Sofia, Bulgaria with another triple-header featuring the home team of Bulgaria making its M-1 Challenge debut against USA 2. Also in action will be China vs. the World Team and Australia/New Zealand vs. Turkey.

Other stops planned for the 2009 version of the M-1 Challenge include a return to Tokyo, Japan on April 25; a first-ever visit to Sau Paulo, Brazil on May 9; and another U.S. event on June 6 in Kansas City.

Tentative plans are currently in place for the M-1 Challenge semifinals to take place in October along with the finals to be held in November.

The current 2009 schedule is as follows:

Feb. 21 – Seattle, Washington (USA 1 vs. Brazil, France vs. South Korea, and Finland vs. Benelux at the Emerald Queen Casino)

March 21 – Sofia, Bulgaria (Bulgaria vs. USA 2, China vs. World Team, and Turkey vs. Australia/New Zealand)

April 25 – Tokyo, Japan (Russia vs. Spain, Japan vs. the United Kingdom, and USA 1 vs. South Korea)

May 2- Sau Paulo, Brazil (Brazil vs. France, Bulgaria vs. Benelux, and China vs. Australia/New Zealand)

June 6 – Kansas City, Missouri (USA 2 vs. Finland, World Team vs. Turkey, and Russia vs. the United Kingdom)

July 4 – Seoul, South Korea (Bulgaria vs. Finland, USA 1 vs. France, and Brazil vs. South Korea)

August 8 – Spain (Spain vs. Japan, USA 2 vs. Benelux, and China vs. Turkey)

Sept. 5 – Great Britain (World Team vs. Australia/New Zealand, Russia vs. Japan, and Spain vs. the United Kingdom)

The complete team lineup along with pool assignments are as follows:

Pool A: Russia, Spain, Japan, and the United Kingdom

Pool B: USA 1, Brazil, France, and South Korea

Pool C: Bulgaria, USA 2, Finland, and Benelux

Pool D: China, World Team, Turkey, Australia/New Zealand

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