Football Victoria (FV) hosted its inaugural Indigenous Football Leaders Forum last week at the Australian Intercultural Society in Melbourne.
The forum provided an opportunity for Indigenous community members, football players, administrators and other sporting codes in Australia to gather and help form FV’s strategies when developing future Indigenous programs and initiatives.
Attendees included FV President Kimon Taliadoros, Football Northern Territory CEO Bruce Stalder, Charles Perkins Soccer Academy Director Frank Farina, the AFL’s Indigenous Programs Manager Chris Johnson, FV hall of fame inductee Michael Mandalis, Australian Indigenous Football Championships director Ramone Close and National Indigenous Football Championships director Bernie Mcleod.
The forum’s structure comprised three key criteria designed to assess the current state of Indigenous football in Victoria, the individual challenges when accessing footballing opportunities and the future of Victorian Indigenous football.
Indigenous Programs Co-ordinator James Brown said the forum was a first for Indigenous football in Victoria and would play a critical role in the overall success of future programs and initiatives delivered by FV.
He said Cultural Pulse, led by CEO Patrick Skene, provided advice and facilitated the Forum.
“Regular consultation with community is vital when aiming to deliver programs within the Indigenous population. I’m glad we were able to gather attendees from various areas within Victoria and Australia to plan effective ways in which we can further engage the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities," James said.
“While there was a structured layout of the day’s events, discussion was extensive and conversation flowed naturally. It’s clear everyone involved were passionate about seeing the success of future football programs along with the overall capacity-building of the Indigenous population.
“We want more First Nation’s Peoples to play football, be involved in administrative roles, coaching and refereeing,” James said.
FV President Kimon Taliadoros said the forum was an overwhelming success.
"Football Victoria has not only committed a dedicated resource in this space, but a young Indigenous person with outstanding football pedigree to lead it," Kimon said.
"James Brown is empowered to lead FV's Indigenous approach which is gaining significant respect across all communities."