This weekend will see the Victoria Park Football Club square up against the Daylesford & Hepburn United Soccer Club in rainbow attire to show their support for the regional Victorian queer community.

The match will kick off at 3 pm Sunday at Victoria Park, with the home players wearing rainbow socks to show their pride and acceptance of LGBTI people. It is the first match of its kind in Ballarat.

The game has been organised in conjunction between Victoria Park and Ballarat Frolic Festival, Ballarat’s new regional queer arts and culture festival.

“We all feel the message of social inclusion through football is vital,” said Victoria Park FC head coach Michael Goodman.

“We’re proud to demonstrate that football is inclusive irrespective of your sexuality and gender.

“In the current political climate, also the lack of professional footballers currently identifying as LGBTI, we as a club can certainly represent the grassroots side of the game as advocates. We’ve had players from the LGBTI community in our teams in the past, as well as currently, so we believe it’s important to demonstrate our club support behind this great event and the community behind it.”

Frolic Festival director Benjamin Ashe said, “We didn’t plan this game around the upcoming same-sex marriage vote, but we’re happy they have overlapped as we feel it’s more important than ever during this time to have positive community advocacy and representation.

“This is about how straight allies can support their gay, lesbian and transgender mates. Sport is for everyone. Clubs like Victoria Park and Daylesford Hepburn United want LGBTI people to feel welcome in their sports teams.”

Frolic Festival is Ballarat’s first queer festival, and runs from October 7–14.

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