Swans expand on Pride Game with wider diversity plan

Swans expand on Pride Game with wider diversity plan

SBS World News Radio: This weekend, the Sydney Swans and Saint Kilda will stage the first AFL Pride Game in Sydney. 

Last year, Saint Kilda hosted the first staging in Melbourne.

But at a launch to promote Saturday's second installment, the Swans announced they have widened their horizons from promoting issues surrounding homophobia.

The club has now launched what it calls a Diversity Action Plan.

In recent years, the Sydney Swans have become synonymous with supporting Indigenous reconciliation.

That has grown to include the Pride Game, which promotes a greater acceptance of gay, lesbian and transgender people in wider society.

But now the club is aiming to tackle more issues which affect many of its supporters.

The aim of the Diversity Action Plan is to break down barriers and welcome all fans, no matter their sexual orientation, gender, physical ability or cultural background.

The chairwoman of the plan, board member Sam Mostyn, says the club is serious about it.

"I think the AFL has always taken a strong stand on the things that really matter to the game in a broader societal context. What I'm proud about today is that the Sydney Swans have taken that a step further and formalised the areas of diversity that they realise they really need to work on to make sure that everyone feels they can belong at our club."

Media identity and self-proclaimed number one Swans fan Adam Spencer was master of ceremonies at the launch of the plan.

He says he believes it will not be long before such plans become redundant.

"I think we're only a generation away from it being just understood. There's work to be done, but I'm really encouraged for the way I know my kids, who are 12 and 9, feel about issues of diversity and empowerment. I'm really encouraged for where I think we're going here."

One important element of the Action Plan is the continuation of the Pride Game against Saint Kilda.

Players such as Nick Smith say they want to see it become a part of the sport's calendar.

"The club's committed to the Pride Game. We don't just want to talk about it and it be a one-off. We want to have it every year and have it as a permanent fixture going forward."

Even if the match continues, though, the club is well aware much work lies ahead if its wider plan is to be successful.

Sam Mostyn is open about it.

"It's a big test for us. We're very proud of this plan, and now we need to develop it and deliver on the targets we've set and make sure that anybody who comes to our club feels the impact of having set that ambition. And I'm very, very proud of the club today."

The Pride Game is set for the Sydney Cricket Ground on Saturday evening.





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