Football kicking goals for community harmony

The Gillard Government and Football Federation Australia (FFA) today announced a four month program to mark annual Harmony Day celebrations and promote the power of football to bring people from diverse backgrounds together and build strong, cohesive communities.

The Harmony Through Football Program will include football tournaments, clinics and school events and feature three special ‘Harmony Day’ themed A-League matches in Sydney and Melbourne.

Minister for Sport and Multicultural Affairs Senator, Kate Lundy, and FFA CEO, David Gallop, launched the initiative at Blacktown Football Club this morning to officially kick off the program.

“Sport is a great unifier and has the power to bring people from diverse backgrounds together – uniting participants through a shared passion for the game,” Senator Lundy said.

“Football is celebrated as ‘The World Game’ because it transcends boundaries and brings people from all walks of life together under a common banner.

“Players strive for a common goal and along the way they build strong friendships and developed a love of the sport and their team.”

The Gillard Government is providing $50,000 in funding to support the initiative in partnership with the FFA who will match the contribution to promote grassroots participation and celebrate Australia’s diversity.

Federal Member for Chifley, Ed Husic, said Western Sydney is the traditional home of football in Australia and one of the State’s most diverse communities.

“More than 50 per cent of the players who have gone on to become Socceroos have hailed from Western Sydney – so Football’s part of our region’s DNA,” Mr Husic said.

“Almost 38 per cent of residents in the Blacktown local government area were born overseas reflecting our community’s unique diversity.

“For young people in particular, football is a great way to meet people, forge friendships and develop the skills and networks to build strong community connections and encourage participation.”

Over 17,000 people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds will participate in the program at more than 150 events and A-League and W-League players will be official ambassadors for the program.

“I encourage people of all ages to look for opportunities to participate in the Harmony Through Football Program to celebrate how sport has empowered participants and strengthened our local communities,” Senator Lundy said.

For more details about the Harmony Through Football program visit www.footballaustralia.com.au and to find out more about Harmony Day 2013 visit www.harmony.gov.au