National Rugby League
In August 2012, the NRL became one of the first organisations to pledge support of Racism. It Stops With Me. In recognition that sport provides an avenue through which to challenge prejudicial attitudes and foster a sense of community harmony, the NRL has undertaken various projects in the anti-racism/pro diversity space.
In League In Harmony is one such example. Developed in 2013, this project aims to promote social cohesion and celebrate cultural diversity through the language of rugby league. Targeted at schools and youth centres in Western Sydney, it addresses issues such as bullying, racism, social disengagement and gender inequality through working with high school students over a six week period combining theory-based and practical activities around the NRL values of Excellence, Inclusiveness, Courage, and Teamwork. Over the six sessions, students learn to work collaboratively with their peers, both on and off the field, and understand the importance of acknowledging, appreciating and celebrating diversity in their communities.
Participating students are invited to annual Community Harmony Day festival, which in 2015 brought together over 500 students from 15 schools in the region.
This event was followed up by the inaugural In League In Harmony Youth Ambassador Summit in August 2015, which was attended by students from each school that had been selected based on their enthusiastic participation in the NRL’s school social inclusion program.
A video of the ‘In League In Harmony’ rugby league gala day, featuring interviews with NRL Community Ambassadors and participants can be viewed here. To find out more about the NRL’s In League In Harmony initiative, take a look at their website.
As part of their support for the Racism. It Stops With Me campaign, the Sydney Roosters launched the ‘Roosters Against Racism’ program in March 2014. This program aims to address racism and prejudice within the local community and educate participants on appropriate strategies for countering racism. According to Helen Saunders, Roosters Community Marketing Manager, the program “has been designed to use the Roosters brand and players to influence positive behaviour, promote diversity and social cohesion; to teach the community that racism is not acceptable and to encourage anyone who is subjected to racial vilification – either by experience or by witnessing an act – to report it.”
Targeted at schools and sporting clubs, presentations are delivered by Roosters ambassador Anthony Minichiello and current NRL players, with the support of qualified program officers. Players who have been personally affected by racism share their stories, explaining to participants how it impacted them and how they were able to overcome the issue. By discussing anti-racism through personal experiences of prominent NRL players, the program aims to encourage school children to reflect on and promote acceptance, mutual respect and fair treatment of all people regardless of their cultural, racial or religious backgrounds in all parts of their lives.
In May 2014, the Sydney Roosters Schools Program, which includes the Roosters Against Racism Initiative, won the Education category at the Clubs NSW Clubs and Community Awards.
Football Federation Victoria
The Football Federation of Victoria (FFV) instituted the ‘Don’t Stand By. Stand Up!’ initiative to demonstrate their support for the campaign. This initiative encourages football clubs to pledge to take a stand against racism.
As part of the pledge, clubs are required to nominate at least two club officials to undertake FFV’s ‘Respect and Responsibility’ course and commit to promoting the initiative to club members and networks. The FVV has also developed a wide range of resources including information packs, posters, and campaign cards to be used by football clubs.
All of these resources and more information about what FVV is doing to support the campaign can be found at their website.
Football United is a sports program that has been running since 2006 through the University of NSW. It aims to support refugee and newly arrived young people and families in their transition into Australian society. The vision has evolved to become a program which combines a number of effective mechanisms for engaging and reengaging young people with refugee experiences and disadvantaged youth into their communities, fostering their educational engagement and promoting cross cultural harmony.
Football United has engaged over 4000 participants. Working with over 50 community based organisations including migrant resource centres, community groups and charities, councils, schools, Intensive English Centres (IECs), TAFE, universities, and football organisations, Football United has involved hundreds of young people, teachers, volunteers, coaches, leaders and community workers within some of the country's most disadvantaged areas.
Find out more information here.