AFLW club backs Muslim player's decision to withdraw from match over pride shirt

SBS News understands Haneen Zreika’s teammates support her decision to sit out of the GWS Giants' next match after deciding she could not wear the LGBTIQ+ pride guernsey due to religious reasons.

GWS Giants player Haneen Zreika.

GWS Giants player Haneen Zreika. Source: AAP

Greater Western Sydney Giants player Haneen Zreika will not play in the club's AFL Women’s match on Friday after deciding not to wear the team’s LGBTIQ+ pride guernsey on religious grounds.

SBS News understands her teammates are supportive of her decision to withdraw.

The Pride Round is one of the AFLW's three dedicated events - alongside the AFLW Indigenous Round and the Good For Footy Round - that aim to foster diversity and inclusivity.

Zreika played in the club’s Pride Round last year when it was not a requirement for the players to wear a specific jersey. 

GWS players in the pride guernsey.
GWS players in the pride guernsey. Source: SBS

The 22-year-old small forward is a highly respected member of her community. She became the first Muslim player and the first player of Lebanese descent to join the Giants when she made her debut in 2019.

Former rugby league player Sonny Bill Williams, who converted to Islam, on his jerseys. 

The GWS Giants has said it is committed to the pride round going ahead against the Western Bulldogs at Henson Park in Sydney’s inner-western suburb of Marrickville.

The AFLW said it did not have a comment at this stage.

Zreika has been officially listed out of the match for personal reasons.

Zreika declined to comment when contacted by SBS News.

2 min read
Published 27 January 2022 at 8:11pm
By Akash Arora
Source: SBS