Sydney FC to partake in Pride Celebration

Sydney FC will be proudly celebrating diversity and inclusivity by taking part in an A-Leagues-wide Pride Celebration over the weekend of February 24th to 26th.

The Sky Blues face trips to Wellington in the A-League Women’s competition and Melbourne City in the Men’s and will show support for football’s ongoing commitment to being accessible and inclusive for everyone.

Across the round Sky Blues Members and fans, along with supporters from other clubs are encouraged to get involved in the Pride Celebration, building on the success of the Pride Cup in 2022 and the wide-ranging programme of diversity and inclusion across the league.

A-Leagues CEO Danny Townsend says the Pride Celebration is another example of the league’s efforts to show that football is the most welcoming and inclusive sport.

“We began this journey with Pride Cup in 2021 and since then we have worked together to implement change for the better. Whilst we’re not at our end goal yet, we’re proud of the strides we’ve made to make our sport more welcoming and inclusive for our fans, players and staff and wider communities.

“The Pride Celebration is grounded in education, training and an ambition for long-term impact. We’re getting the foundations right to make positive change. This is certainly a long-term project, but we’re committed to ensuring every person involved with our game feels safe and included,” Townsend said.

Over the last 18-months, the APL has developed and delivered a series of initiatives, including a comprehensive training programme for players, staff and executives, a trial of a new stadium safety and inclusion programme with the Melbourne Olympic Parks Trust (MOPT) which is now being rolled out nationally, and the introduction of GoBubble technology to help silence online hate for clubs, players and fans.

Sydney FC Captain and Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) President Alex Wilkinson will a Pride Celebration armband for the game.

“I think the education part of the Pride Celebration is extremely important,” he said.

“A-Leagues partner Pride Cup have managed to get around to every club and talk to Men’s and Women’s players to educate them on why were are doing the program in the first place.

“We want to increase inclusivity in the game and ensure that everyone feels safe and welcome. 

“Sport can have an influence with what can happen in society and if football can lead the way by making our game more inclusive and ensuring everyone feels more welcome, hopefully that can transcend into the general community as well.”

The captain’s armband for the Pride Celebration

As part of the Pride Celebration, $1 from every ticket sold will also be donated to Pride Cup’s community fund to support community clubs and their own pride events, to help ensure all LGBTI+ people feel included, accepted, and proud to be who they are.

PFA CEO Kate Gill said: “The Pride movement is close to many fans and players’ hearts and we’re extremely proud to be celebrating the diversity of our players and fans through a new Pride Celebration in 2023. We want to reduce discrimination, increase education, and improve everyone’s experience when playing our sport so they feel safe, included, and welcome.”

Melbourne Victory and Adelaide United men’s and women’s teams will compete in the ‘Pride Cup’ – the marquee game of the Pride Celebration – a doubleheader at AAMI Park with the men’s fixture kicking off at 3pm AEDT on February 26th, followed by the
women at 6pm AEDT.

Pride Cup, Chief Executive Officer, James Lolicato says the partnership with A-Leagues is an important and powerful initiative to make football more inclusive for the LGBTI+ community.

“When you change sport, you change communities. And with the outpouring of support from last season’s Pride Game, we’re excited to partner with A-Leagues for a Pride Celebration in 2023.

“75% of LGBTI+ people believe an openly gay spectator would not be very safe attending a sporting event. We want that statistic to change and ensure all LGBTI+ people have access to a safe and inclusive sporting environment.”

“Money raised from the round will go towards our work in continuing to educate the community and clubs on inclusivity and reducing discrimination. So far, our work with sporting clubs has been significant in reducing homophobic language and increasing
understanding for the LGBTI+ community, which then ripples out to the wider community.

“We want to encourage everyone to come along to A-Leagues’ Pride Celebration and celebrate inclusion, diversity and football with us,” concluded Lolicato.