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Pride match among Saints' fixture requests for 2016

Umpires use Pride Match flags during the 2015 NAB Challenge Week 3 match between the Sydney Swans and the Fremantle Dockers at Drummoyne Oval, Sydney on March 15, 2015. (Photo: Anthony Pearse/AFL Media)
The goal umpire waves rainbow flags during NAB Challenge match earlier this year

ST KILDA has requested to play the Sydney Swans in a pride game that celebrates sexual diversity and equality in a marquee timeslot in next year's home-and-away fixture.

The Saints, who have had an ambition to host such a concept for a few years, have asked the AFL to schedule the themed clash with the Swans in the 2016 premiership season at Etihad Stadium.

They want to reach as many people as possible in what would be the first match for premiership points designed to celebrate and raise awareness for equality, and have requested it be staged in a primetime slot such as Saturday night.

AFL.com.au believes the Swans are comfortable with the Saints naming them as their preferred opponent for the game, after hosting a NAB Challenge pride match this year.

The Swans-Dockers pre-season match held at Drummoyne Oval was sold out, and featured rainbow 50m arcs, goal post pads and umpires' flags.

The Saints have done plenty of work within the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) community, and had a presence at this year's second community Pride Cup, held in Yarra Glen.

The club also took part in the Pride March this year in St Kilda and has been involved in several other initiatives to promote sexual equality. 

As well as a pride match for premiership points, the Saints have requested less Sunday twilight matches next season after being involved in four this year.

Also on their wish list is a home Friday night game – something that was missing from their 2015 fixture after their wooden spoon season the year before.

They want to host Collingwood in a Friday night or Saturday afternoon timeslot on a weekend where the 50th anniversary of the club's sole premiership win will be commemorated.

The 1966 Grand Final triumph over the Pies will be celebrated at a gala event on a Saturday night.

They've also requested for their VFL affiliate Sandringham to play some curtain raisers ahead of the Saints at Etihad Stadium home games.

Essendon and Carlton – with the Northern Blues – were given permission by the stadium to do so in 2015.

With the Wellington deal shelved after three years of playing on Anzac Day in the New Zealand capital, the Saints remain committed to maintaining a presence in the country.

Christchurch and Auckland have emerged as potential host cities for next year's game, but the latter is less likely to happen until a new stadium is complete in 2018-19.

The date of the New Zealand match – and opponent – are also still being discussed, with Anzac Day itself a less appealing option in 2016 because it falls on a Monday.

The Anzac Day weekend remains a possibility, as does the June Queen's Birthday weekend.

The opponent is likely to be decided once talks about the city and date have progressed.

The Saints are also looking to play two away games in Tasmania – one in each Launceston and Hobart – given the number of supporters they have in the state. 

And a request has been made to celebrate captain Nick Riewoldt's scheduled 300th milestone in round two with a home game.