The Australian Football League today launched the 2013 Multicultural Round, a themed round to recognise our game’s cultural diversity.
AFL Head of Diversity Jason Mifsud, Geelong Vice-Captain Jimmy Bartel, Australia Post AFL Multicultural Ambassadors Bachar Houli and Majak Daw, and participants from The Bachar Houli and Majak Daw Academies attended the launch event held at AFL House in Melbourne.
Round 16 of the Toyota AFL Premiership season will celebrate ‘Many Cultures, One Game’, recognising the many players from multicultural backgrounds, who make up 15 per cent of the AFL player list.
AFL Head of Diversity, Jason Mifsud said the Multicultural Round highlights the contribution multicultural communities have made to Australia’s game, as well as the community engagement initiatives currently being undertaken by the AFL industry.
"It is important the AFL reflects cultural diversity, providing an environment which welcomes people from all backgrounds to enjoy our game as supporters, players or administrators in the future," said Mr. Mifsud.
"Since launching the Australia Post AFL Multicultural Schools Program, we have been to more than 200 schools and reached 20,000 students, teaching football skills and reinforcing key themes of leadership, harmony and respect.”
“In 2013, we expanded the Australia Post AFL Multicultural Ambassador program to include 11 AFL multicultural players and we are really proud of the pivotal role they are playing in breaking down social barriers and uniting communities through AFL.
"Bachar Houli has recently been recognised for his outstanding work with multicultural communities. The Bachar Houli Islamic Program has been shortlisted for an international Beyond Sport Award, in the category ‘Sport for Social Inclusion’.
"Meanwhile Majak Daw became the first Sudanese player to play senior AFL in the game’s history and today launched the Majak Daw Academy which will provide development opportunities for multicultural players from the western regions of Melbourne.”
"We are also 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."
Highlights of the 2013 Multicultural Round include:
• Announcement of 22 players selected in the Australia Post AFL Multicultural Team of Champions, Tuesday July 9
• Multicultural talent academies have been held in each state and the World Team, coached by Carlton great Anthony Koutoufides, and South Pacific teams will again participate in the NAB AFL Under-16 Championships held in Sydney, coinciding with Multicultural Round.
• Australia Post AFL Multicultural Ambassadors will visit Australia Post facilities around Australia to help distribute more than 5,000 tickets to Australia Post employees.
• More than 1000 AFL industry people will attend Cultural Diversity forums in Victoria, Tasmania, NSW, QLD, SA and WA
• St Kilda FC will host a Multicultural Round Food Festival at the club, Thursday July 11
• Iftar dinner on Thursday July 11 At Essendon FC, hosted by Australia Post AFL ambassadors Bachar Houli and Ahmed Saad who will both be celebrating Ramadan during Multicultural Round
• The AFL Community Ticketing Initiative will see over 17,000 people from multicultural community groups and Australia Post provided the opportunity to attend their first AFL match during Multicultural Round.
• AFL Umpires will use orange flags. Orange is the international colour of harmony.
• AFL players from multicultural backgrounds will toss the coin.
• Half time NAB AFL Auskick will include children from multicultural backgrounds.
• Multicultural students from AMES who have been supported by North Melbourne, Richmond, Melbourne and Western Bulldogs Multicultural programs, will play on the MCG for the first time in an Cadbury AFL 9s match half time of Collingwood v Adelaide Crows
• The African Academy, supported by Collingwood FC, will play the CMY Refugee Minor & ICV combined team, supported by Melbourne FC at the MCG for the first time in a Cadbury AFL 9s match half time of Collingwood v Adelaide Crows
• Multicultural Unity Cup curtain-raiser to Western Bulldogs v Essendon match at Etihad Stadium
• Diafrix, Melbourne based, African born hip-hop duo, will perform at Western Bulldogs v Essendon match
• AFL matches held at the MCG and Etihad Stadium during Multicultural Round will feature entertainment on the concourse, supported by the Victorian Multicultural Commission, including Chinese Lion Dance, Bollywood Dance and West African drumming, as well as arts and craft such as face painting and interactive sand art to celebrate Multicultural Round
• A joint initiative between the AFL and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade will see embassy and consular staff attend AFL matches during Multicultural Round, representing over 30 countries, including Turkey, Spain, Brazil, Zimbabwe, Nauru, Bangladesh and Egypt.
• Establishment of a permanent multi-faith room within the Gabba, coinciding with Brisbane Lions v North Melbourne Multicultural Round match
• AFL Victoria will celebrate Multicultural Round at the VFL game between Werribee Tigers v Casey Scorpions at Avalon Oval, Werribee, Sunday July 14 with African and Burmese dancers, dancers, international food stalls and NAB AFL Auskick and Cadbury AFL 9s games featuring multicultural participants.