The Australian Football League today launched the 2014 AFL Multicultural Round at the Many Cultures One, Game breakfast held in Melbourne at MAIÀ.
Round 18 of the Toyota AFL Premiership season will celebrate ‘Many Cultures, One Game', highlighting the contribution multicultural communities make to Australia's Game at all levels, as well as the ongoing initiatives across the AFL to engage with new communities and potential fans.
AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan said that a record number of activities across the round would include a national campaign called My Passport to Australian Football to encourage potential new fans to enjoy the experience of attending an AFL match.
“Australian Football has the extraordinary power to bring people together regardless of background,” Mr McLachlan said.
“The AFL and Australia Post are excited to have launched My Passport to Australian Football which aims to welcome thousands of multicultural spectators to the game during this round dedicated to celebrating diversity in football and more broadly in the Australian community.
“People with an international passport have been offered complimentary tickets to attend an AFL game during Multicultural Round, thanks to the Australia Post AFL Multicultural program.
"The AFL is committed to reflecting Australia’s cultural diversity, providing an environment which welcomes people from all backgrounds to enjoy our game as supporters, players, umpires or administrators.
“There are so many amazing stories to share of fans from all backgrounds who show extraordinary dedication to the game because they just love footy. We want to thank our passionate fans for their contribution and show the great impact they are having on the future of our game. “
Mr McLachlan also announced Geelong three-time Premiership player and Brownlow Medallist Jimmy Bartel as the latest community leader to join the Australia Post AFL Multicultural Ambassador Program.
"We are proud to see AFL players from non-multicultural backgrounds supporting multiculturalism, as the entire AFL community, irrespective of background, strives to strengthen diversity, inclusion and cultural understanding in our game."
“I would like to acknowledge our premier partner of the AFL Multicultural Program, Australia Post for their tremendous, ongoing support, as well as the Scanlon Foundation, Victorian Multicultural Commission and GoodLife Health Clubs who have all contributed to make this year’s Multicultural Round truly special.”
Australia Post Managing Director and CEO Ahmed Fahour was delighted by the continued growth of Multicultural Round events and activities.
“Australia Post and the AFL share an ongoing commitment to fostering inclusion, celebrating cultural diversity and recognising how multiculturalism enriches Australian neighbourhoods,” said Mr Fahour.
“Multicultural Round is an important initiative and highlights the significant contribution and involvement that many multicultural Australians make in the AFL.”
In 2014, 15 per cent of the AFL player list is from culturally diverse backgrounds.
Highlights of the 2014 Multicultural Round include:
• The AFL has launched a marketing campaign across TV, print and digital, including multicultural channels which celebrates the many wonderful cultures who all share a common passion for footy. It shows that no matter who you are or where you come from, AFL is a sport that embraces everybody willing to get involved and have a good time.
• My Passport to Australian Football will see over 18,000 people from multicultural communities across Australia be given the opportunity to attend an AFL match during Multicultural Round, thanks to the Australia Post AFL Multicultural Program
• The Greater Western Sydney Giants v Geelong game will be broadcast in Mandarin via Muse Radio
• The AFL has licensed the Unity Sports Wrap, a headscarf that will be available in all 18 AFL club colours, designed for fans and players
• The Docklands footbridge will transform into the AFL Cultural Footbridge Festival presented by Australia Post AFL Multicultural Programs for all AFL matches at Etihad Stadium, involving food stores, music and dance provided by the Victorian Multicultural Commission.
• There will be a number of multicultural performances on field at AFL games including Shiamak Davar Dance Group, a group of 120 Bollywood dancers who will perform prior to Western Bulldogs v Essendon match at Etihad Stadium. African drumming groups will perform from the cheer squad areas at the Carlton v North Melbourne game. West Coast Eagles will host Chung Wah Association (Chinese Dragons) entertainment on match day in the Kids Zone. Greater Western Sydney Giants and Port Adelaide will have multicultural performances and citizenship ceremonies on field.
• AFL players from multicultural backgrounds will toss the coin.
• The AFL will host Iftar dinners in Melbourne and Sydney, to celebrate Ramadan.
• Australia Post AFL Multicultural Ambassadors will visit Australia Post facilities around Australia
• More than 1000 AFL industry people will attend Cultural Diversity forums in Victoria, NSW, QLD, SA and WA
• Greater Western Sydney, Port Adelaide, Carlton and the Western Bulldogs will host citizenship ceremonies during Round 18
• The AFL is introducing a National Umpiring Diversity strategy which aims to create talent pathways for multicultural and Indigenous umpires
• AFL Umpires will use orange flags and players will wear orange shoelaces. Orange is the international colour of harmony.
• Halftime NAB AFL Auskick games will feature multicultural participants
• Multicultural students from AMES who have been supported by North Melbourne, Richmond, Melbourne and Western Bulldogs Multicultural programs, will play on the MCG in an AFL 9s match half time of Western Bulldogs v Essendon at Etihad Stadium.• AFL Victoria will celebrate Multicultural Round at the VFL game between Footscray and Essendon at Victoria University Whitten Oval, July 20. There will be multicultural dancers and food at the venue, an AFL Explained session pre-game and then kick to kick on ground for International students