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AFL shortlisted for Sport Federation or Governing Body of the Year award

  • Friday, July 16 2010 @ 08:30 am ACST
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General News The Australian Football League has been shortlisted for the International Beyond Sport Awards 2010, for recognition of its Multicultural Programs, with winners to be announced at the Beyond Sport Summit in Chicago in September.

The AFL’s Multicultural Program is one of three projects shortlisted under Sport Federation or Governing Body of the Year category, and was selected from over 350 entries from more than 115 countries which submitted applications to this year’s awards. The other two projects are from the National Basketball Association (NBA) in the USA and the Namibia Football Association.

Beyond Sport, is a global organisation that promotes, develops and funds the use of sport to drive positive social change across the world. The Beyond Sport Awards program provides support worth $1 million annually to projects across the world that use sport to address issues within their communities.
The AFL's General Manager of Market Development, David Matthews, said it was thrilled the AFL’s capacity to build communities and bring people together from diverse cultural backgrounds was now being recognised on the world stage.

“A major focus of our AFL Multicultural Programs has been to build our own capacity to assist migrant and refugee communities to access Australian Football whether that is as a player, fan, volunteer or umpire,” he said.

The nomination is timely recognition given last week’s NAB AFL Under 16 Championships in Sydney which featured a World XVIII and a team from the South Pacific for the first time. Countries represented in the championships included South Africa, China, Sudan, Papua New Guinea, Denmark and Argentina.

“In partnership with Government, Local Councils, a number of AFL Clubs and our States, we have been able to build strong working relationships with many diverse cultural communities across Australia to identify barriers and to develop strategies to encourage involvement. " Matthews said.

He also acknowledge the support of the Federal Department of Immigration and Citizenship, the Victorian Department of Sport and Recreation and a number of AFL Clubs including the Western Bulldogs, Richmond, Essendon, Collingwood, Hawthorn, Kangaroos, and Carlton as well as Team GWS.

Victorian Premier John Brumby congratulated the AFL and said its nomination was fitting recognition for Australian football. “The Victorian Government partners the AFL on a range of community programs that address many cutting edge social agendas including multicultural, Respect and Responsibility, leadership and health programs,” Mr Brumby said.

The AFL started the Multicultural Program in 2005 to connect with new and emerging migrant and refugee communities and use football to assist in their settlement within Australia The program employs staff across Australia and has secured partnerships with a number of AFL Clubs, government and community organisations.

The initiatives available through the Multicultural Program include:

• Free programs in schools with a high culturally and linguistically diverse student population;

• Visits to AFL Matches at no cost to for refugees and migrants;

• Free resources for local Clubs, teachers and students;

• Free programs targeting International Students;

• Free cultural awareness training for local Clubs;

• Registration subsidy program introducing young people to community club football;

• Multicultural and Indigenous Talent Pathway Program; and

• Living in Harmony program

The Beyond Sport Summit is an annual event that brings together the best sport-led social innovators with influential, global leaders to address sport's role in driving positive social change. The Beyond Sport Summit 2010 will be held between September 27-30 in Chicago.

Speakers at this year’s summit include HRH Prince Faisal Al Hussein of Jordan, the owner of NFL SuperBowl champions the New Orleans Saints, Rita Benson LeBlanc, and Olympic champions, Michael Johnson and Australia’s Ian Thorpe.