Government pledges Multicultural support

Written by Leyla Kaya.

Last week the Federal Government, along with the AFL announced a $625,000 investment in, and continued support of the Bachar Houli Programs.

Held at the Swinburne Centre in Melbourne, the event was also a celebration of Eid – a Muslim festival marking the end of the fasting month of Ramadan.

The Bachar Houli Academy is a high-performance football talent program for emerging young players. The annual Bachar Houli Cup attracts over 5000 Islamic school students each year.

The Honourable Malcolm Turnbull was delighted to announce the Government’s increased funding, which will be used to expand the programs and to establish a female component of the Bachar Houli Academy and Schools Cup.

“These programs, and the work the AFL does, and in particular the work that Bachar does, is so important,” said the Honourable Malcolm Turnbull.

“Bachar’s mentoring program with the Muslim youth demonstrates the power of sport to foster Multicultural unity and develop teamwork and leadership skills.”

AFL Chief Executive Officer, Gillon McLachlan said the Bachar Houli Programs have played an important role in connecting Muslim youth to AFL, and providing pathways for young men and women to excel both on and off the football field.

“We thank the Federal Government for their continued support of the Bachar Houli Programs, which have been strengthened each year, engaging more people and most importantly having a deep impact on young Muslim Australians,” McLachlan said.

In 2017, the Programs engaged over 11,000 Muslim people across Australia and currently in its first year, the Bachar Houli Employment Program has provided ten full-time traineeships to Muslim youth across the AFL industry.

Rana Hussain, who works for Richmond Football Club, delivered an impassioned speech about her experiences at the club.

“Over the years, not seeing myself being reflected in the game, as a person of colour, or as a woman, gave way to the tacit implication that I didn’t belong in this game, that I would never really be part of the great Australian narrative that is the AFL,” Ms. Hussain said.

“But flash forward to 2017, and that is exactly what the Bachar Houli Program has afforded me and achieved for football.

“It has broadened who is included and who has the opportunity to contribute to our great game.”

If you would like to take part in Bachar Houli Programs, registrations for the 2017 Bachar Houli Academy are now open. Players eligible to attend must be aged 15-18 years in 2017 and be from a Muslim background. To register, please visit the website.