Media Release: Unity Cup to kick off in Melbourne

Release Date: Sunday, March 24 2013, 07:56 AM

Australian Rules Football (AFL) clubs have put their rivalries aside and will unite with the Australian Federal Police (AFP) for the sixth annual Unity Cup in Melbourne.

The Unity Cup is a family day and round-robin AFL 9’s competition which includes teams from the Muslim, Jewish, African, and Indigenous communities. The AFL Multicultural Program will be bringing teams from Sydney, Adelaide, Darwin and Brisbane to compete at the event. The event will also coincide with Kensington’s Celebrating Community Festival.

This year the Unity Cup founding partners, the AFP and Essendon Bombers, will be joined by the AFL Multicultural Program and players from the North Melbourne Kangaroos, Western Bulldogs and Melbourne Demons to promote community understanding and social inclusion within Melbourne’s culturally diverse communities.

AFP National Manager Counter Terrorism Neil Gaughan said the AFP’s Community Liaison Teams provide opportunities for the AFP to be involved in the Unity Cup which strengthen relationships with the community and foster greater trust in law enforcement.

“Sport is an ideal forum to forge stronger community relationships and address misconceptions around law enforcement. Grassroots connection with communities is particularly important for promoting cohesion and mutual respect in today’s society,” Assistant Commissioner Gaughan said.

“Unity Cup brings people together to make a statement against cultural, racial and religious intolerance and provides the perfect opportunity for multicultural youth to showcase their football skills while celebrating their diversity.”

Chief Executive and Managing Director of the Essendon Football Club Ian Robson said the Unity Cup is a fantastic example of how football can positively showcase and support the importance of bringing diverse communities together.

“The Essendon Football Club is a proud co-founder along with the AFP. In 2013 Essendon will partner teams representing the Islamic, Indigenous and Indian communities and we expect a spirited and highly skilled display of competitive football,” Mr Robson said.

“Though the sporting adage suggests there can only be one winner, we know that multiculturalism will be the true winner.”

The event will be held this Sunday (24 March 2013) at JJ Holland Park in Kensington, Victoria, with matches to kick off at 9am.

Other activities on Sunday will include player autographs, BBQ and kids activity area.

    Unity Cup Media Opportunities:

    9:00am - Unity Cup tournament begins at JJ Holland Park, Kensington Road, Kensington. 
    9:30am - National Manager Counter Terrorism Neil Gaughan.
    11:00am - AFL 9’s girl’s exhibition game. VIP Party free to watch football and greet the crowd or welcome to depart.

    1:30pm - Call to prayer on for Muslim attendees on synthetic oval.  
    3pm - National Anthem

     Grand Final

    3:30pm - Medal presentation - Grand Final

Media enquiries:
AFP National Media (02) 6131 6333