April 2019

Welcome to the Game

What we did

We developed a holistic program in conjunction with Welcome to Australia’s ‘Welcome to the Game’ initiative to help recently-arrived refugees become involved in football.

We designed every aspect of our program around community members’ needs and capabilities, rather than the established structures of Football Queensland.

Our approach included:

  • establishing tournaments to coincide with important community days and national days of celebration
  • adapting alternative registration processes and costs such as reduced financial entry point and pay-as-you-go
  • ensuring appropriate game kick-off times during Ramadan
  • co-funding new training equipment, field hire costs and new team uniforms
  • designating a ‘Welcome to the Game’ staff member to support young people to develop administration and financial planning skills for their team
  • supporting community members to plan and deliver their own events
  • holding events at central locations to ease participants’ transport limitations.

To deliver the program, we worked with multiple partners including:

  • Welcome to Australia and their sports initiative ‘Welcome to the Game’
  • local football clubs such as Acacia Ridge Football Club, Park Ridge Football Club, Bethania Rams Football Club, The Spanish Centre Acacia Ridge, Queensland Lions Football Club, the El Salvador Football Club and Football Brisbane
  • settlement services providers such as Multicultural Development Australia and Access Community Services
  • local councils such as the Brisbane City Council and Logan City Council
  • not-for-profit organisations such as Inala Community House, Acacia Ridge YMCA, the Queensland Program of Assistance to Survivors of Torture and Trauma, Inala Police and Citizens Youth Club, Inala Wangarra and Inala Youth Service
  • law enforcement agencies such as the Queensland Police Service and Australian Federal Police.

Why we did it

For newly arrived communities the number one sport they desire to participate in is football.

Access to football programs accelerates connections between newly arrived families and communities and helps build important networks between service providers, government agencies, sporting facilities and these community members.

Community consultation at events such as the community leaders football forums and the production of the Kick Start Inala report reinforced this.

Welcome to the Game has collated a database of over 400 players and determined that only 10 per cent of those players participate in a traditional sports club structure.

This means around 90 per cent may be playing regular but largely unaffiliated and informal events and are missing the wider potential benefits of being a member of a sports club community.

How we know it worked

The collaboration has, to date, resulted in 80 players moving into Football Brisbane structured club football via teams at St George Willawong and Logan Roos Football Clubs.

From the winter season in 2017 to the 2018 season we have had a 400 per cent increase in the number of Somali teams, a 200 per cent increase in Afghan teams, and 100 per cent increases from Chinese and Indian teams playing in the South East Queensland football competition.

We have held 9 community tournaments attracting more than 800 participants and a further 700 additional community members attending. Among these tournaments, we held a four-week Ramadan Cup tournament.

In 2018 the South East Queensland Football Competition that operates within Football Queensland has 30 teams and quickly grown to accommodate:

  • 4 Somali teams
  • 3 Afghani teams
  • 2 Chinese teams
  • 2 Indian teams
  • 2 Macedonian teams
  • 1 each of Bosnian, Croatian, Spanish and Fijian Indian teams.

Web: www.footballqueensland.com.au; www.seqfootball.com.au; www.facebook.com/welcometothegameQLD/