Local footy shows its community Pride

AFL North Coast and AFL North West have joined forces to celebrate Pride Round for the first time in each League’s history, recognising the gender diverse people in each League and celebrating the contribution they make on a daily basis to bringing local communities together.

Pride Round will be celebrated on Saturday 25 June in the North West Senior Competitions, whilst the North Coast festivities will occur on both Saturday 25 June and Saturday 2 June so that all clubs can be involved. Players in Senior Competitions in both regions will sport rainbow socks, Umpires will don rainbow wristbands, and both Leagues have incorporated a rainbow theme into their logos.

Paul Taylor, Community Football Manager, said that the response from clubs has been overwhelmingly positive.

“When we first flagged the idea of a Pride Round with the clubs in both Leagues they were on board straight away and wanted to know how they could support the initiative. On the North Coast, the Sawtell footy club has a bye on 25 June and they asked if we could extend by a week so that they could be involved and show their support too,” Taylor said.

“I’m really proud of how supportive our clubs have been, not just in getting behind this themed round, but by supporting their local communities and striving to create a safe space where everyone can be themselves around the footy clubs.”

Australian Football is more than just a game. Footy plays a role in the lives of many Australians across the country by bringing them together for the love of the game. The AFL is committed to the inclusion of gender diverse people in the community and the game at all levels, from elite through to local club footy. To effectively achieve this, the AFL understands that we must continue to focus on creating a welcoming, safe, and inclusive environment for all.

Chelsea Randall, Adelaide Crows AFLW captain and three time Premiership player, expressed her pride in being involved in a sport that has been so proactive in the gender diversity area.

“It’s fantastic that we’re treated as equals and celebrate people’s differences, but we celebrate just the human being and the amazing person that they are and that we throw our support behind our players,” Randall said.

“It takes a lot of strength and bravery from players and individuals to show who they are, and we need to continue to celebrate that and continue to create a safe place for whoever that may be.”

Pride Round follows on from the recent celebrations of the contribution made by Indigenous people to the game at all levels, with Indigenous Round staged during May.