The AFLQ multicultural program has spread its wings even further, making a significant impact on local umpiring ranks.

Tuesday 19 July 2011

Aimed at strengthening community integration and boosted by a $50,000 Queensland State Government Grant, the AFL Queensland Multicultural program encourages people from culturally diverse backgrounds to become involved with Australian football.

Griffith students from countries including China, Africa, Japan, Russia and South America have been part of this initiative this year, which has included classroom and on-field training sessions ahead of formal AFL coach/umpire accreditation.

The partnership between AFL Queensland and Griffith is one that offers mutual benefits and dependant on the success of this first trial program, could become a permanent fixture, according to Griffith Student Linx Coordinator, Mr Andrew Monaghan.

“It’s exciting to see the level of interest from our international students already and the success of this first program will hopefully pave the way for future opportunities,” he said.

“The students who have taken part have been thrilled to learn a new sport and develop new skills all while playing in a team environment and meeting new people.”

As a continuation of  AFL Queensland’s commitment to this program 20 of these students undertook a four-week training program to become an AFL Queensland Goal Umpire.

The Goal Umpiring Program was managed by AFL Queensland Umpire Development Officer Simon Devine, whilst coaching was performed by AFL Queensland Goal Umpire Nick Abbate.

This program gave the students a more in-depth knowledge of the role and responsibilities required to be a goal umpire for AFL Queensland.  With this knowledge the 20 students are able to umpire AFL Queensland games.

On Friday 1 July and Sunday 3 July these students had their first taste of an official game, and last weekend 10 of these students enjoyed an even greater sense of achivement when they got the chance to officiate at the U18 Youth Girls State Championships at Yeronga.

The final match last Sunday saw not only the results of the multicultural program but also the results for the female participation programs as the total umpiring panel was all female.

When asked about the program and how it is developing, Simon Devine had nothing but positive feedback from all parties involved.

“This program whilst in its infancy is proving to be a success and we are hoping to take this to the other Griffith University Campuses over the next 12 months,” he said.

“Not only are the students learning more about the game of AFL, but everyone involved in the games these students umpire get to learn a little more about them and their cultural background.  So it’s a win/win for everyone”

Pictured is the all-female umpiring panel from the State U18 Championships: Nicole Wong (Goal), Lara Hulme (Boundary), Ashleigh Hales (Field), Jasmin Musolino (Field), Chloe Wallington (Boundary), Safia Asfand (Goal), Tze wai Law (Goal). 

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