GET into footy through Essendon Football Club’s GLoBALL program. Tim Morgan has the details.
This weekend, 140 international students will witness their first Australian Football League game when Essendon takes on Richmond at the MCG. The students are part of 913 refugees, migrants, and students getting their first glimpse of AFL through Essendon Football Club’s GLoBALL program.
According to Essendon FC’s multicultural officer Kashif Bouns, providing students and migrants with free tickets to Essendon games is just one way GLoBALL tries to get them to engage with AFL. GLoBall also has clinics with current Essendon players, as well as six-week training programs and organised matches of AFL 9’s.
GLoBALL’s ultimate goal is to try and assist students take up AFL at a local football club.
“Ideally we want to run things at universities to get them to play a game and then get them into a local competition,” Mr Bouns said.
Mr Bouns said GLoBALL is committed to helping students get into club teams, and have already assisted some students in making contact with local clubs. But to be truly successful, he said GLoBALL needed the help of universities to raise awareness about them.
“It is just not possible for us to go to universities without them asking for us to do it. Someone from the university has to take leadership because the market is so scattered,” Mr Bouns said.
RMIT University, one of GLoBALL’s founding sponsors, said facilities and time are the two major factors that have prevented international students from playing AFL.
Nicole Lane, RMIT Link’s sport and recreation officer, said the limited space at RMIT’s city campus makes it hard to run events, which means most programs end up being held at Bundoora. Still, Miss Lane encourages students from other universities to register as a team or an individual, via the RMIT Link website, to participate in RMIT’s AFL 9’s challenge on September 16.
Other AFL clubs have followed Essendon’s lead with Carlton hosting its first clinic for international students a few weeks ago.
To register your interest with GLoBALL, email firstname.lastname@example.org.