The A-Leagues need more inclusive rounds throughout the season

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The first ever pride matches in the A-Leagues were played this season and they should mark the first of many more.

The success of these games creates an argument for the A-Leagues to introduce a dedicated pride round, and perhaps other inclusive rounds such as an Indigenous round.

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Four months after ALM player Josh Cavallo came out as gay, Adelaide United became the first ever club to host pride games. United’s double header at Coopers Stadium on February 26 saw their ALM and ALW teams wear rainbow numbers and names on the backs of their jerseys in a show of solidarity with the LGBTQIA+ community.

The matchday itself was a resounding success, with fans of other clubs heading to Adelaide purely to immerse themselves in such a worthwhile cause.

These pride matches were a step in the right direction, and it is now important that the A-Leagues, PFA (Professional Footballers Australia), Pride Cup and other organisations work together to maintain the momentum and introduce a dedicated ‘Pride Round’.

The ALM pride game between Adelaide United and Central Coast Mariners saw a crowd attendance of 7,868. The fourth highest ALM crowd attendance number since February 6.

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Adelaide’s average crowd attendance this season has been 6,713, proving that fans are willing to attend a game with a purpose behind it with over an extra thousand attendees at the pride game.

The success of Adelaide’s introduction of pride games into the A-Leagues is an essential step towards introducing a dedicated pride round within the season.

Another inclusive round the A-Leagues should introduce is an Indigenous round, similar to what the NRL already does.

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The NRL, through its Reconciliation Action Plan, is committed to greater promotion and opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with the game. A prime example of this commitment in action is the NRL Indigenous Round.

The NRL Indigenous Round is an important step forward in highlighting the significant social issues affection Indigenous players in the game. This is something that the A-Leagues could greatly benefit from.

For each game within the NRL Indigenous Round, teams also wear specially designed jerseys reflecting Aboriginal art.

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Rugby League Australia also host an All-Stars match, beginning in 2010, that involves an Indigenous team and a Maori team. This also brings awareness to the two communities within the NRL.

In 2022, the attendance for the All-Stars match was 26,755. These numbers are proof that this is something fans of the NRL want and could be executed within the A-Leagues also.

It’s time for the A-Leagues to follow in the footsteps of other sporting codes in Australia and promote inclusivity within the game through a dedicated pride round and Indigenous round.

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Statistics Sourced from Ultimate A-League

Feature Image Credit: Adelaide United 

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Grace Clegg
Covering the Newcastle Jets for the 2021/22 season. Studying a Bachelor of Communication (News Media and PR) at the University of Newcastle. Coffee addict.

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