A feast of footballPride Football Australia‘s second national event was held in Melbourne this weekend

Honours on the pitch were shared between Melbourne and Sydney teams, with the Julie Murray cup staying in Melbourne for the next year, while the Justin Fashanu Cup returns home with the Sydney Rangers.

The on-field action was supported by an announcement by Football Federation Victoria that they will join the VEOHRC Fair Go Sport! Program. This promotes safe and inclusive sporting environments for the GLBTI community. 

FFV CEO Mitchell Murphy said: “Pride Football Australia’s tournament this weekend, is a perfect example of bringing together football players and supporters from around Australia, regardless of gender and sexuality.  It is terrific to see a tournament celebrating the diversity and inclusivity of the world game.”  He added that FFV will continue to spread the message of its zero-tolerance approach to all forms of anti-social conduct.

Both matches on Saturday featured strong, even contests with breakaways clawed back by determined oppositions. Melbourne Rovers were 3-0 up against Sydney’s Flying Bats and had to endure a tense last period of the second half with the Bats flying back to 3-2. Matilda legend, Julie Murray noted 8 players who made an exceptional contribution to the match, with the Most Valuable Player awarded to Yalia Gonzalez from the Bats.

In the Justin Fashanu Cup, the Man of the Match Duncan Jones put Sydney ahead from the penalty spot. After Sydney going to 2-0 in the second half, Rovers set up an incredibly passionate final 1/2 hour when their player coach Peter Devine scored a rocket from a set piece.

Leader of the Rover’s women’s squad, Meaghan Briggs, commented: ‘It was an honour to host the Pride Football Australia tournament in Melbourne for the first time, and also to be one of the first football events since the VEOHRC and FFV Fair go sport! announcement on Friday. Hosting the Sydney teams, we continued to forge friendships between the three clubs.’

Joseph Roppolo commented “Sydney Rangers are extremely honoured to be formation members of Pride Football Australia and congratulate Melbourne Rovers on a well organised, fun and inclusive tournament. Coach Billy Kennedy and Captain Akio Matsui did a fantastic job bringing together a squad of new and familiar Rangers faces from our three winter comp teams.” 

“I’m so proud of our team,” said Alicia Rich, President of the world’s largest lesbian soccer club The Flying Bats. “They showed such resilience to come back from 3-0, while representing our club with pride and sportsmanship. Being part of this tournament is a highlight of our football calendar; the Melbourne girls are delightful, and we can’t wait to continue this rivalry in Sydney next year.”

Meanwhile, Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commissioner Kate Jenkins congratulated FFV for taking a stand against homophobia. “It is fantastic to see a major football code taking this issue to the national stage. Everyone, regardless of who they are, should feel safe enough to participate in sport without facing discrimination,” Ms Jenkins said. “As a soccer Mum I am really pleased that when my kids go to sports practice, through Fair, go sport! they will learn about fairness and treating their team mates equally from a young age,” said Ms Jenkins