Football Victoria, in partnership with Proud 2 Play, have succeeded in securing valuable funding from VicHealth to conduct research into LGBTI+ inclusion in football in Victoria.
Football Victoria are the peak body for administration of football in Victoria and have been working in partnership with Proud 2 Play since 2018 on their LGBTI+ inclusion portfolio. In 2019, this has seen them participate in LGBTI+ inclusion training, sign a Pledge of Pride in collaboration with Pride Cup, show their support for the LGBTI+ community on International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexism and Transophobia and continue their support for the annual Melbourne Rovers vs Victoria Police football match.
The funding, which comes from the VicHealth Innovation Challenge (planning grants), will allow Football Victoria to community consultation to gain insights and understand existing barriers and enablers within the structure of football in Victoria.
Football Victoria’s Head of Community Projects, Nick Hatzoglou, said, “Football Victoria want to be a catalyst for change in inclusion of LGBTI+ people in sport generally. To do this we need to be industry leaders and this research will allow us to do so.”
“Research like this is so valuable to help organisations understand the needs of both the football and LGBTI+ community when it comes to LGBTI+ inclusion” Proud 2 Play’s Luke Major said. “This way organisations can be smarter about where they direct their funding so they can make sure their activities will have the greatest impact on participation.”
“Proud 2 Play have conducted similar research in conjunction with Cricket Victoria in the past, which has allowed them to build a very strong LGBTI+ inclusion portfolio,” Luke said. For the last two years, Cricket Victoria have won the Pride in Sport Award for Australia’s highest ranking state sporting organisation through implementing LGBTI+ inclusion initiatives recommended from their community consultation research.
VicHealth awarded planning grants to Football Victoria and three local councils while four projects were awarded significant funding to undertake new sports participation programs. Amongst them was Proud 2 Play’s partner organisation, Leisure Networks, with Pedal Power – a bike education program for kids with autism spectrum disorder.