Pride Football event a success!The Flying Bats and The Melbourne Rovers came together for a friendly match.

Last weekend’s Pride Football Australia tournament was an outstanding feast of football, fun and friendship for the 95 players and over 150 spectators who braved the weather conditions on Saturday October 6, 2012. Sydney Rangers FC and The Flying Bats Women’s Football Club hosted a full weekend of events to kick off the tournament which saw them take the field against the Melbourne Rovers men’s and women’s teams.

The Melbourne Rovers men took home the 4th annual Justin Fashanu Cup presented by ACON with a tight 1-0 victory over the Sydney Rangers, while the women have split the inaugural Julie Murray Cup trophy with the Flying Bats after a serious injury caused the game to be cut short at 2-2.

Two Melbourne players also took home the inaugural player of the match awards, as judged by Julie Murray, patron of the women’s cup.

Earlier in the day a mixed match between the Bats and Rangers saw Australia defeat The World 5-4 in a highly entertaining friendly exhibition game.

Football and community were the clear winners of the day, with a fantastic atmosphere of camaraderie and respect. Over 200 players and friends partied on late into the night at The Cup of Life after party at The Midnight Shift Club on Oxford Street with a special dance performance by the home teams, the highlight of the evening.

Melbourne Rovers will host the 2013 Pride Football Australia tournament, which aims to bring together football players and supporters, regardless of their gender or sexuality, to share their love of the game and promote equality, acceptance and diversity.

“”We would have loved to decide a winner with penalties, but under the circumstances, we think a draw is a fair and we’re so thankful that the Rovers player is not seriously injured. We are looking forward to someone winning the trophy outright in 2013!” says Alicia Rich, president of the Flying Bats.

“My boys gave everything to try and break down the excellent Rovers defence and I couldn’t be prouder of them. With both clubs now locked at two title wins each, Rangers are already looking forward to doing our best to win back the Justin Fashanu Cup in 2013” says Sydney Rangers coach Joseph Roppolo.

The tournament is supported by ACON, NSW’s leading community-based HIV and GLBT health organisation. ACON is also a community partner of the Rangers.

“Pride Football Australia is a great initiative,” says ACON CEO Nicolas Parkhill, “and ACON is proud to be supporting an event that helps build the health and wellbeing of our community not just physically and socially, but also by highlighting how homophobia and transphobia can impact on the mental health of people from the GLBT community.”

Patron of the women’s cup, Julie Murray, has been at the forefront of most firsts in Australian women’s football and is honoured to be involved in another piece of history.  “Whether it’s professional or local weekend football, you play because it brings something positive to your life; there is a sense of belonging, responsibility, and loyalty that comes with playing football,” says Murray. “Although there is still a long way to go I believe football has, and will continue to play a key role in breaking down barriers.”



The Sydney Rangers

Established in 1997, Sydney Rangers FC are Australia’s oldest and biggest gay men’s soccer club providing a fun, tolerant and friendly space for gay men and their friends to play the sport they love. The club boasts a strong record in the International Gay & Lesbian Football (IGLFA) movement for many years. Two-time IGLFA bronze winners (Washington DC 2009, London 2008), IGLFA silver medallists at Boston 2003 and twice winners of the Justin Fashanu Cup in 2009 and 2011.

 The Flying Bats

Established in 1986, the Flying Bats is now Australia and the world’s oldest and largest lesbian football club: fielding six teams in 2012, making two Grand Finals and taking out the North West Sydney Women’s Football Association’s Division 2 Premiership. With hundreds of current and former players, WAGS and fans, FBFC is proud of its place in the GLBTQI community and its reputation for fair play, tolerance and inclusiveness.

 The Melbourne Rovers

The Melbourne Rovers SC is Australia’s first and only gay and lesbian football club based in Melbourne. Founded in June 2008 the Melbourne Rovers provide a fun, friendly and safe environment bringing together people within the community to play soccer. Melbourne Rovers play for the Yarra Jets during the winter season fielding a Men’s Metro team, Women’s Metro team and Women’s State Leagues in Victoria. The Rovers won the Justin Fashanu for the first time in 2010.