Pride Cup kicks off
The inaugural Pride Cup will kick off next month, with two country Aussie Rules teams competing to celebrate diversity and tackle homophobia in our nation’s favourite sport.
Traditional rivals, Yarra Glen and Yarra Junction, from the Yarra Valley Mountain District Football Netball League, will be the first two teams to go head to head in what is planned to be a new precedent for inclusion in sport for the LGBTIQ community.
Yarra Glen is the football team of Australia’s first openly gay Aussie Rules player, Jason Ball, who’s ‘coming out’ was met with strong support from his teammates and also challenged the AFL to be on the front foot when it comes to stamping out homophobia.
"In my mind the most significant message that the Pride Cup sends to the local community, is that it's OK to be gay” Jason said.
“That is a message that young LGBT people desperately need to hear, especially in regional and rural areas,” he said.
AFL spokesman James Tonkin said the Pride Cup was another positive initiative to promote inclusion and diversity in sport.
“The AFL wants to ensure Australian football at every level provides a safe and welcoming environment for everyone, regardless of their race, religion or sexual identity.”
“We will continue to support impressive efforts such as the Pride Cup to break down barriers and to combat homophobia wherever it exists.”
The football and netball teams from Yarra Glen and Yarra Junction will compete in the inaugural Pride Cup on Saturday, May 3.
Image: Jason Ball