The Southern Football Netball League will next weekend become the first community football and netball competition in Australia to formally recognise and celebrate diversity and inclusion in sport with a dedicated League-wide Pride Round.
The League announced earlier this year that it was formally including LGBTI+ communities in its Social Charter, with the themed round on August 11-13 reinforcing the SFNL’s position on LGBTI+ inclusion.
Around 4000 participants from more than 100 football teams and 32 netball teams will have the opportunity to celebrate Pride through several pride-themed initiatives across the weekend.
All Women’s and Senior Men’s football players, and all netballers will wear rainbow-coloured laces in their boots or runners for their matches over the weekend, while almost every football venue in the competition will be painted with rainbow 50m arcs in a show of support for the LGBTI+ community.
This landmark Pride Round comes following the success of last year’s Pride Shield Match between St Kilda City and St Pauls Football Netball Clubs.
The two clubs will again take part in a marquee match for the inaugural Pride Cup on Saturday 12 August, with a special social event at the Peanut Farm pavilion to precede the big Division 1 clash.
SFNL CEO David Cannizzo said the SFNL is a firm believer that every individual should feel safe and welcome to be themselves within the League, and hopes that the inaugural Pride Round will further enhance the SFNL’s standing as a truly inclusive community sporting organisation.
“The SFNL is proud to embrace diversity and equality, including LGBTI+ communities, and acknowledges that everyone who is involved within any level of sport, either as a player, official or supporter, should be able to do so regardless of their sexuality,” Mr Cannizzo said.
“In addition, we strive to create an environment throughout the League where members of the LGBTI+ community feel they are not only welcome, but have the opportunity to play key roles.
“Through the adoption of this inaugural Pride Round, the SFNL aims to help raise awareness that discrimination can have an extremely serious impact on a person’s mental well-being and we are working diligently to ensure that this doesn’t occur within the SFNL community.”
The Pride Cup social event, to be hosted by MC Leesa Catto, will feature several high-profile guest speakers and panellists, including Minister for Equality Martin Foley, LGBTI+ Advocate Jason Ball and St Kilda Football Club star Sam Gilbert.
Entry into the pre-match social event is just $10, and includes finger food, a rainbow welcome pack and a drink on arrival. The event proceedings commence at 1:00pm, with the opening bounce of the Pride Cup senior football match to follow at 2:15pm.
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