The Melbourne Rovers Football Club lost its pre-season friendly match against RMIT’s Football Club last weekend but Rovers president Heath Wilson said it was refreshing they were being approached for such games.
RMIT defeated the Rovers 5-0 in cold and wet conditions at RMIT University’s Bundoora campus fields on Sunday, March 17.
Wilson said it was a tight contest between the men’s teams and that they were well-matched against each other despite the score.
It’s the first time the Rovers have been approached for such a friendly match as the club prepares for the winter season kicking off on April 6.
“I believe they’re just trying to create and foster diversity and… support some of their players who are essentially gay,” Wilson said.
“So it was all RMIT pushing it which was really refreshing. They were really proactive and very hospitable, they were great.
“It’s great to get our brand out there and promote equality in soccer and that’s part of the reason we do it.”
RMIT FC president Hart Ely-Faulks said he wanted to show students at RMIT that anyone could join their team.
“The RMIT Football Club really wanted to reflect the student body at RMIT as well in having the kind of approach of having everyone allowed to play,” he said.
“In the past, in terms of professional football players there has only been about three or four players who have come out and they’ve been vilified when they’ve done so.
“So it’s culture that we’re really against basically.”
For RMIT, Ely-Faulks said the game also influenced members of his own team.
“So there’s two boys who have grown up in the country and grown up outside of the city where the culture is not necessarily as open and as accepting,” he said.
“I think they took a lot away from it. It really made them think about what their judgments were going into the game and I think they had a really different perspective at the end.”
Faulks said he would love to compete against the Rovers in future.