The 'Big Blue' becomes the beyondblue Cup

Sydney FC and Melbourne Victory have joined forces with beyondblue, an organisation which aims to raise awareness of depression and anxiety.

Sydney FC and Melbourne Victory have joined forces with beyondblue, an organisation which aims to raise awareness of depression and anxiety.

The focal point will see the Hyundai A-League-s fiercest rivals Sydney FC and Melbourne Victory play for the beyondblue Cup when the next instalment of “The Big Blue” takes place at the Sydney Football Stadium on March 10.

Aside from raising awareness of depression and anxiety, the beyondblue program was also established to cover related alcohol and drug issues and to reduce the associated stigma.

Two former Premiers of the respective states are on the beyondblue Board. Former Victorian Premier the The Hon Jeff Kennett AC is the organisation-s Chairman, while former NSW counterpart The Hon Morris Iemma also sits on the Board.

Sydney FC have their own close experience with the subject with former striker Dez Giraldi giving the game away after being diagnosed with anxiety and depression.

“Had it been explained exactly what this illness was and it works and how it affected my body… things may have been different,” Giraldi said.

“If Sydney FC are going to take this step of taking the issue seriously then it is massive for the game and massive for Sydney FC."

More than three million Australians experience depression or anxiety, with men traditionally reluctant to ask for help.

“Depression and anxiety are very real issues and as well as raising awareness for the great work beyondblue does, it is also important for the education and well-being of our players,” said Sydney FC CEO Dirk Melton.

“Like everyone in society, depression and anxiety can affect sportsmen with recent high-profile cases highlighting the issue.”

Former Qantas Young Socceroo Giraldi spoke from the heart offering advice based on his own experiences.

“Have the guts to stand up and say I have a problem,” says Giraldi. “I would never have known unless I spoke up about it. It is very common and there is no shame in coming out and asking for help.”