AFL Celebrates Multicultural Round

Brisbane Lions mascot Bernie ‘Gabba’ Vegas kicked off Multicultural Round at the Brisbane Refugee Day Festival

AFL Celebrates Multicultural Round 

The Australian Football League today launched the 2012 Toyota AFL Multicultural Round, a themed round to acknowledge and celebrate our game’s cultural diversity.

AFL General Manager National and International Development Andrew Dillon, AFL Legend Alex Jesaulenko, AFL Hall of Fame member Stephen Silvagni and AFL Multicultural Ambassador Nic Naitanui were in attendance. 

The 2012 Toyota AFL Multicultural Round will celebrate ‘Many Cultures. One Game’ and will highlight the community engagement initiatives of the Australian football industry, as well as the many players from culturally diverse backgrounds who make up 14 per cent of the AFL player list and represent 39 countries.    

This year the AFL Multicultural Program will ensure that more than 20,000 people from migrant families experience an AFL game and will come into contact with their own local football community.

The Australia Post AFL Multicultural Schools Program will be implemented in more than 300 schools and 25 staff members are employed by the AFL and clubs to deliver the program.

Multicultural talent academies have been held in each state and the World XVIII and South Pacific teams will again participate in the NAB AFL Under-16 Championships in July.

AFL General Manager National and International Development said it is important Australia’s game responds to and reflects the community, providing an environment which welcomes and includes people from all backgrounds.                                                                                                               

“AFL Multicultural Round gives us a terrific opportunity to celebrate the role multicultural communities have played in the game historically and importantly to encourage new communities to enjoy our game as supporters, players or administrators in the future,” Mr. Dillon said.

Speaking at the launch today Mr. Dillon also made the significant announcement that the Australia Post Multicultural Team of Champions would be chosen to recognise the achievement and enormous contribution of players from multicultural backgrounds.

Alex Jesaulenko was named captain and Jock McHale was named coach.  

The team will comprise the period 1896 – 2012 with the final team of 22 to be announced in the lead up to the 2012 Toyota AFL Grand Final at a function supported by Australia Post.

As well as captain and coach, an initial squad of 50 players was named today (detailed below) based on information and records currently available to the AFL.  The AFL will also ask the WAFL and SANFL to put forward its nominations for players who should be considered for selection.  Many records pre-dating 1930 are incomplete and we will welcome any further nominations from the public who can confirm any player heritage from the early years of our game that we may not have been able to confirm.

To be considered for selection, players must have been born overseas or have at least one parent born overseas.

The selection panel is AFL Chief Executive Officer Andrew Demetriou, Australia Post Managing Director and CEO Ahmed Fahour, AFL General Manager National and International Development Andrew Dillon, former West Coast and Collingwood coach Mick Malthouse, Seven Network commentator Dennis Cometti, AFL National Talent Manager Kevin Sheehan and AFL historian Col Hutchison.

The final 50-man squad as it currently stands:

Jason Akermanis, Peter Bell, Simon Black, Percy Bowyer, Barry Breen, Dermott Brereton, Roy Cazaly, Trent Croad, Peter Daicos, Alan Didak, Robert DiPierdomenico, Andrew Embley, George Heinz, Glen Jakovich, Alex Jesaulenko (captain), Sam Kekovich, Tadhg Kennelly, Daniel Kerr, Anthony Koutoufidies, Allan La Fontaine, Justin Leppitsch, Tony Liberatore, Stewart Loewe, Gary Malarkey, Alan Martello, Peter Matera, Jarrad McVeigh, Mark Mercuri, Mal Michael, Joe Misiti, Sam Mitchell, Nic Naitanui, Harry O’Brien, Simon Prestigiacomo, Peter Riccardi, Nick Riewoldt, Anthony Rocca, Saverio Rocca, Ben Rutten, Matthew Scarlett, Wayne Schwass, Michael Sexton, Sergio Silvagni, Stephen Silvagni, Ian Stewart, Jim Stynes, Andrew Swallow, Nathan van Berlo, Paul Vander Haar, John Worsfold.

AFL Multicultural Round activities include:

· Umpires will use orange flags. Orange is the international colour of harmony. 

· Players from multicultural backgrounds will toss the coin.

· Half time NAB AFL Auskick will include children from multicultural backgrounds.

· Public Opinion Afro Orchestra will perform at the Carlton v Hawthorn match at the MCG and have also provided the backing track to the television and radio campaign.

· More than 1000 AFL industry people will attend Cultural Diversity forums in Victoria, Tasmania, NSW, QLD, SA, and WA.

· Various school programs, clinics and carnivals will be held throughout the week.

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