FFA launches Harmony through Football initiative

FFA CEO David Gallop and Sport and Multicultural Affairs Senator Kate Lundy have unveiled the Harmony through Football program.

Football Federation Australia (FFA) CEO David Gallop and Sport and Multicultural Affairs Senator Kate Lundy today unveiled the Harmony through Football program, a new initiative to celebrate football-s diversity and inclusivity.

Football represents Australia-s multicultural diversity with connection to more cultures, languages and ethnicities than any other sport.

The Harmony through Football initiative is the first formal FFA program directly linking our diverse player role models to the growing multicultural communities of Australia.

60 year three students from the Metella Road Public School along with stars of the Westfield W-League and Hyundai A-League joined together today in Western Sydney to announce the new initiative that aims to use football to help foster a sense of belonging, acceptance and understanding of other cultures.

The Harmony through Football program includes over 150 events for more than17,000 participants in NSW and Victoria, culminating with three marquee Hyundai A-League matches in Melbourne and Sydney around Harmony Day (21 March) involving Melbourne Heart, Melbourne Victory, Sydney FC and Western Sydney Wanderers.

The program of events commenced last Sunday with a tournament co-ordinated by Melbourne Heart featuring Victoria Police, the Melbourne Chinese Soccer Association and the Australian Somali Football Association.

In 2013, FFA has a strategic plan to engage with multicultural communities, with a focus on Harmony Day, the official national celebration of cultural diversity.

“Football is the face of Australia and is a sport that truly reflects the cultural diversity of our nation,” FFA CEO David Gallop said.

“With 1.7 million participants, football is Australia-s most inclusive and accessible sport, one that bridges gender, age, linguistic, ethnic and religious divides.

“In 2012 FFA undertook a cultural audit of the A-League which showed that 87 per cent of players have an overseas ancestry and 68 per cent have one or more parent born overseas, both well above the national average.

“Football-s broad fan base similarly reflects this diversity and our aim to help foster this diversity through the Harmony through Football program."

“Sport is a powerful unifier which brings together people from diverse backgrounds,” Senator Lundy said.

“This initiative shows football living up to its status as the world game - a universal language and passion.”

Along with the support from Minister Lundy, the Department of Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sport and the Department for Immigration and Citizenship, SBS have also come on board to help drive the program.

“SBS has always championed the sports which contribute to building communities. We are proud to be a partner in this great initiative which will help to inspire our younger generation of Australians from diverse backgrounds to connect with the champions of the game,” SBS Managing Director Michael Ebeid said.

Further announcements on this partnership will be made in mid-March.

Harmony through Football will culminate with three major fixtures which will incorporate the Harmony message - these matches are Melbourne Heart v Western Sydney Wanderers and Sydney FC v Melbourne Victory on 16 March and Western Sydney Wanderers v Sydney FC on 23 March.

For more details on the Harmony through Football program visit www.footballaustralia.com.au to find out more about Harmony Day visit www.harmony.gov.au/