Media Release – May 2023

The first of its kind, Breaking Barriers is a game-changing partnership between CMSport, Proud2Play and the Victorian Amateur Football Association (VAFA). All three organisations have come together for a three-year partnership to provide innovative support to the VAFA through a series of workshops, practical strategies, action plans, and evaluation methodology, to improve inclusion practices in theVAFA, particularly for LGTBIQ+ and multicultural communities. 

People from communities that have not traditionally participated in Community football have now found a home in the VAFA, such as members of the LGTBIQ+, First Nations and multicultural communities. However, it has been identified that education is required within the VAFA community before these participants feel safe, included, and truly welcomed. 

Subject matter experts from CMSport and Proud2Play, under the partnership name Breaking Barriers, will collaborate to provide the VAFA with increased understanding of the principles of including marginalised communities, while working towards an inclusive environment in Community football. This innovative partnership will be the ‘go-to’ provider of trusted guidance and advice with respect to intersectionality through training, guidance, and consultation. 

CMSport and Proud2Play have strong and direct connections to their communities and are trusted advocates for the rights of the communities they represent. They advocate with, and for, their communities. Both organisations are authentic in their approach, with their teams comprising of people with lived experience from LGBTIQ+, migrant, and refugee backgrounds – meaning they bring their own stories and experiences of diversity in the workplace. This ensures the delivery of the Breaking Barriers project to the VAFA is empathetic, effective and holistic.  

Through the Breaking Barriers project, it will ensure that from the top down, there is a behaviour and organisational shift to establish the VAFA as welcoming space for everyone.  This partnership project is the first of its kind, and all three organisations recognise that intersectionality will improve the sport sector’s contribution to inclusion.   

CMSport, VAFA, West Brunswick Amateur Football Club (WBAFC) and Proud2Play

Jason Reddick, VAFA CEO:
“The VAFA is excited to be involved in the Breaking Barriers project in partnership with Proud2Play and CMSport. 

The VAFA wants to be representative and inclusive of its entire Community and the Breaking barriers project will support the VAFA in doing this. The VAFA has over 12,000 players and 1,000’s of volunteers, coaches and support staff and providing an inclusive environment for all is a priority.”

Simon Rodder, CMSport Manager:
“Real change comes through collaboration and partnerships. CMSport is thrilled to be working with Proud2Play and the VAFA to create safe and welcoming environments for all people to play, watch and volunteer in local football. We congratulate the VAFA for committing to a long-term project which will see education, resources and project contribute to meaningful and sustainable change.”

Christine Granger, Proud2Play CEO:
“Proud2Play is excited to be partnering with CMSport and the VAFA on this first of its kind project. For Proud2Play, the opportunity to work with other DE&I organisations to collectively move the industry forward is an opportunity that could not be missed. It is important that as an industry we recognise we cannot make sport inclusive and equitable if we do not advocate for all communities and recognise that many people sit on an intersection of the work we do. We need to work with others who are skilled in the areas we are not in order to improve the knowledge and capacity of everyone. We commend the VAFA for putting words into action and taking on this work to support making the VAFA a space for all.”

Evan Lloyd, West Brunswick Amateur Football Club (WBAFC) President:
“The exposure and education around inclusiveness and diversity that this type of partnership will provide to the VAFA Board, Admin and other stakeholders will undoubtedly be incredibly beneficial, and will provide a great complement to initiatives being conducted at player and Club level. CMSport and Proud2Play are two great organisations, and the VAFA is lucky to have them on board. At WBAFC we are really excited to see the impact of this partnership on the new initiatives that are in development at the VAFA, as well as seeing the impact on the day to day running of the VAFA competition.”