By Ant Wingard @AntWingard
Saturday’s event at the Robina Roos will provide a beacon of hope for the local community according to Pride Cup co-founder, Jason Ball.
Ball, who won Victoria’s Young Australian of the Year Award in 2017, was enthusiastic ahead of the first ever Pride Cup game in Queensland tomorrow, July 28.
“It’ll be a first for sport in Queensland when it comes to AFL and when it comes to those big footballing codes,” Ball told aflq.com.au.
“Sporting clubs are often the heart of communities. When they show leadership on an issue, people listen.”
“To know that Robina is on board with LGBTIQ+ inclusion is a message of hope for people within that community.”
The Roos will host QWFA Division 2 South rivals Surfers Paradise for the Pride Cup, with both teams wearing rainbow coloured socks.
Goal umpires will wave rainbow coloured flags and each 50m arc will also be painted in the colours.
The Gold Coast-based game will be the fourteenth Pride Cup of the 2018 footballing season with eleven taking place across Victoria plus other ventures into Adelaide and New South Wales.
Since the first Pride Cup in 2014 developed by Ball’s former club, Yarra Glen, the initiative has continued to grow and establish an inclusive environment for the LGBTIQ+ community within the sporting prism.
“They [Yarra Glen] wanted to send a message to every player and supporter that they didn’t have to choose between being themselves and playing the game that they love,” Ball recalled.
“They’re amazing community events where people of all sorts of different backgrounds talk.”
“It’s such a powerful thing to have local teams showing the rainbow colours in support of the LGBTIQ+ community.”
In true Pride Cup fashion, a cup will be presented to the winning side and a medal awarded to the game’s best player.
Following the game, the Roos will host a chicken and champagne lunch featuring speeches from former Australian ironwoman champion, Hayley Bateup, Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) national spokesperson, Shelly Argent and AFL Queensland Football Operations Manager, Barry Gibson.
Gibson welcomed the Pride Cup concept into community football.
“The Pride Cup is a fantastic initiative by the Robina Football Club and AFL Queensland are delighted that we have been able to support the event,” Gibson told aflq.com.au.
“It’s the first Pride Game in Queensland and no doubt the Roos will be seen to be the Queensland pioneers in this space.”
“Ensuring our clubs create safe, inclusive and welcoming environments for everyone is a major priority for AFL Queensland.”
“Events of this nature play a significant role in creating awareness for important social issues like Inclusion. They help our football community understand why the environments we create are important to not only our sport but society in general.”
The first bounce of the game will be at 10am.
Tickets for the chicken and champagne lunch have sold out but entry to the game is free.
To keep up to date with the event, click here.