Pride football australiaLaunching a new organisation to promote LGBTQI participation in football.

A new organisation has officially launched that aims to promote LGBTIQ participation in football (soccer) and advocate for issues affecting the LGBTIQ sports community.

Pride Football Australia will support the development of grassroots LGBTIQ football clubs, help make existing clubs and associations more inclusive, and work with the sport’s governing bodies to address ongoing issues of homophobia.

Starting as a football tournament that celebrated the rivalry between Sydney and Melbourne’s premier LGBTIQ football clubs – the Flying Bats, Sydney Rangers and Melbourne Rovers – Pride Football Australia will move into an advocacy space while continuing to host its flagship tournament and encourage new teams from other states to participate.

This year’s tournament will take place from 6-8 October in Melbourne.

The organisation is headed by former Flying Bats Women’s Football Club president, Alicia Rich, who has been involved with Pride Football Australia since its first tournament in 2012.

“The experience of being involved with Pride Football has been transformative for players and supporters from our three foundation clubs. We can’t wait to expand the joy of football to LGBTIQ people around the country,” Rich says.

“Also, professional football in this country is not yet where we would hope it to be,” she continues. “There are still no male professional football players who are openly LGBTIQ, and homophobic incidences during A League matches continue to cast a shadow over the development of this great game. We look forward to working with Football Federation Australia to address these issues.”

Pride Football Australia operates as a not-for-profit organisation with a management committee drawn from delegates of the three foundation clubs.