AFL’S St Kilda Saints will play the Sydney Swans in a Pride Match during the 2016 premiership season, in what is expected to be a strong stance for LGBTI equality and anti-homophobia in sport.

This will be the AFL’s first in-season Pride Match, with the code previously hosting a similar match during the 2015 pre-season between the Swans and Fremantle Dockers— which, unlike premiership season matches, was never telecast on prime time TV.

The Saints have lobbied the AFL for the pride game to be a fixture in the 2016 season, with the backing of Victorian Gender and Sexuality Commissioner Rowena Allen.

The proposal was to include a primetime night match with pre-game and half-time advertisements for TV audiences to highlight the impact of homophobia in sport. Money raised from the match would also go to charities supporting gender diversity and same-sex attracted youth.

The inspiration for the AFL Pride Match stemmed from the annual Yarra Glen Pride Cup that initiated by Aussie Rules footballer Jason Ball, who is believed to the the first openly-gay player in all levels of the code.

The 2016 Pride Match is expected to take place at Melbourne’s Etihad Stadium on Saturday, August 13 and aired nationally on Channel 7.

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