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Soccer tournament fights discrimination
LGBTI soccer tournament Pride Football Australia took place in Melbourne over the weekend, backed by the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission and state soccer body Football Federation Victoria.
The tournament’s two cups were shared between Melbourne and Sydney, with the women’s Julie Murray Cup staying in Victoria with the Melbourne Rovers and the men’s Justin Fashanu Cup going north with the Sydney Rangers.
Both matches were close, and Sydney women’s team the Flying Bats giving a nail-biting performance to come back from 3–0 and finish only one goal down.
“I’m so proud of our team. They showed such resilience to come back from 3-0, while representing our club with pride and sportsmanship,” said President of the Flying Bats Alicia Rich.
“The Melbourne girls are delightful, and we can’t wait to continue this rivalry in Sydney next year,”
A statement of support for the tournament by the Football Federation Victoria (FFV) comes as part of an announcement the code has signed up to the Fair go, sport! initiative by the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission (VEOHRC).
Recently appointed VEOHRC Commissioner Kate Jenkins applauded FFV signing up to the initiative, which aims to increase awareness of sexual and gender diversity in sport and create safe and inclusive sporting environments.
“It is fantastic to see a major football code taking this issue to the national stage. Homophobia, transphobia and biphobia are serious health issues that do serious harm to people around the country. There is no place for discrimination in football or in any other sport,” Jenkins said.
“As a soccer mum I am really pleased that when my kids go to sports practice, through Fair, go sport! they will learn about fairness and treating their team mates equally from a young age.”
FFV’s announcement makes soccer the sixth sport to sign on to Fair go, sport! after hockey, basketball, cycling, skating and roller derby.
FFV CEO Mitchell Murphy said the organisation was proud to support the tournament, and was taking its role in raising awareness of sexual and gender diversity in the code seriously.
“Pride Football Australia’s tournament organised by Melbourne Rovers this weekend, is a perfect example of bringing together football players and supporters from around Australia, regardless of gender and sexuality,” Murphy said.
“It is terrific to see a tournament celebrating the diversity and inclusivity of the world game.”
Jenkins also congratulated Pride Football Australian on their work in combating homophobia in the code, calling the tournament an important reminder of the discrimination still faced by people in the LGBTI community.