National Australia Bank (NAB) and AFL today announced the first AFL-sanctioned match celebrating diversity and the LGBTI community.
NAB, as part of its commitment to diversity and being an employer of choice, approached the AFL last year about using the NAB Challenge as a platform to raise awareness of the LGBTI community.
Sydney Swans and the Fremantle Dockers will compete in the NAB Challenge Pride match on Sunday, 15 March at Drummoyne Oval in Western Sydney.
NAB Group Chief Executive Officer Andrew Thorburn said he was delighted that the AFL had joined with NAB to celebrate diversity in Australia.
“At NAB we believe in diversity – we want everyone to be themselves at work, home and at the footy,” Mr Thorburn said.
“The NAB Pride match has been created because at NAB, we don’t just sponsor the game. We want to use football’s reach to demonstrate our support for our people and our customers in the communities we serve, regardless of their gender diversity or sexual orientation.
“We’re committed to doing the right thing by our customers and people and delivering an inclusive culture in everything we do.”
AFL Football Operations Manager Mark Evans said football is a game for everyone and a game that challenges prejudice.
“The AFL is proud to be hosting this game, and in doing so we are saying to our community that we want to be part of change in Australia,” Mr Evans said.
“Diversity and inclusion is essential to our game. We say ‘no matter who are, where you are from or who you love, we can all love footy’.”
Jason Ball, an openly gay footballer who in 2014 established a Pride Cup match between his local club Yarra Glen and Yarra Junction, said it is great to see this initiative now at a national level.
“The NAB Challenge Pride match is a significant step forward that will help make sport and the AFL a place where everyone feels accepted no matter who they are,” Mr Ball said.
To celebrate the NAB Challenge Pride match, the 50 metre arc, goal post pads and goal umpire flags will be decorated in rainbow colours.
The first bounce will take place at 4.10pm AEST Sunday 15 March at Drummoyne Oval, Sydney.
NAB has been a longstanding partner of the AFL for more than 10 years.
Book tickets for this match here.