Fair Play!

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Cheap Thrills

fair_play_1What is Fair Play?

Fair Play is a fundraising event. It is a one day futsal soccer tournament, open to teams from all corners of the local community, playing for the Etiko Trophy.

It takes place twice a year, currently at the Clifton Tennis Club in Mayors Park, Clifton Hill (Victoria)

How are funds raised and who does it go to?

Teams pay an entry fee and this, combined with bar and food takings, raffle revenue and other donations on the day are split between 2 charities:

– Happy Football Cambodia Australia
– Collingwood Allstars Soccer Program

Who is HFCA?

Football is a widespread game around the world enjoyed by many bringing peace and friendship between countries and unites individuals, families and friends. In impoverished countries such as Cambodia, football is gradually on the rise. Children and men play in the capital city of Phnom Penh anywhere they can from parks to pavements to roadsides and rice fields without any coaches or training.

For many Cambodian children, playing football would be a dream come true as some cannot find a sufficient space to play nor afford to buy appropriate gear like football boots or balls. However, the establishment of Happy Football Cambodia in 2005 has made these dreams become possible. Happy Football Cambodia works with disadvantaged youth in Cambodia through the medium of “The beautiful game”, running a program in Phnom Penh which provides them with:

– football boots and other equipment
– coaching from Cambodian Football Federation
– the opportunity to learn skills
– a reason to smile and forget about the issues they face, at least for a short while

HFCA also organised for 3 coaches from Inter Milan, one of the biggest clubs in the world, to come to the program and be part of a football clinic for 60 kids for 5 days.

Another dream was realised for HFCA in 2008 when it successfully funded a Cambodia team from the program to participate at the Homeless World Cup in Melbourne. The HWC is an annual, international football tournament, bringing together teams of people who are homeless and excluded, to take a once in a lifetime opportunity to represent their country and change their lives forever.

The Homeless World Cup has showcased outstanding performances as well as diversity of true spirit, courage, and determination by the players. In the final, Scotland were victors over Poland defeating them nine goals to three. In Australia’s second attempt, the Street Socceroos finished in 43rd place. In its fifth year, the life-changing event continues to illustrate the influence not only football has but the influence sport possesses to improve lives and build brighter futures.

Each year there are a number of positive outcomes that come out of the event. After the 2006 Homeless World Cup in Cape Town, South Africa, 92% of players found a new motivation for life, 73% have transformed their lives significantly, 35% obtained employment, 44% have improved living conditions, 39% decided to begin school, and 72% chose to resume playing football.

fair_play_2The Street Soccer programmes it has spawned across the globe are booming; 3,000 people attended trials for the Homeless World Cup in Kenya alone. And, with the support of sponsors and, in particular, the Big Issue, players are going on to find jobs and homes. They are returning to their families and becoming mentors. Several former players have come back as their country’s coaches. A French player went on to become a coach at Paris St Germain, but he still takes a week’s holiday every year to work at the tournament. There are now 30 soccer programmes across Australia as a result of last years’ event.

What is the Collingwood Allstars Program?

Run by the Jesuit Social Services in conjunction with the City of Yarra for disadvantaged young people living in the Collingwood Public Housing Estate, the Collingwood Allstars attracts 25-45 people per week, including around 5-10 young women.

It should be noted that local police have been very supportive of the program and this support and participation has been a critical factor in the program’s success.

The program has become a natural and on-going part of local community life. In addition to continuing to organise the weekly sessions on the Estate, the Community Development staff facilitated a number of the participants and their families becoming involved with a mainstream soccer club in a neighbouring suburb. The Clifton Hill Soccer Club has been very welcoming to the Allstars players and their families, and there have been considerable benefits for all involved, including many new friendships and the opportunity for Allstars players to travel and play in a range of different places throughout Victoria. There’s also been a premiership won, with the Clifton Hill U/12’s going through the season undefeated, in no small part due to the considerable skill of seven Allstars players on the team. Fair Play regularly features a team from the program, facilitated by local police.

Who plays in Fair Play?

Teams have included: The Street Socceroos (Australian National Homeless Team), Cambodian National Homeless Team, The Big Issue, RRR radio, City of Yarra, Folk, Rhythm & Life Festival, Malipranka (disabilities), Atherton Allies (kids from Fitzroy estate, funded by Vic Police). The tournament currently accomodates 16 teams (squads of 8 players) and attracts around 200-300 spectators. With a larger venue we hope to expand the tournament to 24 teams.

The teams are competing for the Etiko trophy. Etiko, who are committed to encouraging Fair Trade and the removal of childfree labour, pride themselves on producing high quality sporting goods and help sell the products to assist those children in developing countries across the world.

The games are overseen by referees from FutsalOz. FutsalOz are the most prominent body for the 5-a-side sport, running leagues around Melbourne and assisting in rules.

fair_play_3Other prizes include medals, tickets to see Melbourne Victory, footballs from football Federation Victoria, beer from Coopers, Coffee Hamper from Jaspers, vouchers from Etiko Sports and Soccer Fever. The event is supported by the City of Yarra through sponsorship of the venue. Fair Play also received a Community Grant this year (2009). Other generous support comes in the form of beer donated by Coopers, coffee donated by Jaspers and sound equipment donated by Rent The Rig. Plakkit support Fair Play through poster distribution.

Can we just turn up and support?

Absolutely. The event is free for spectators to come along and cheer. There is food and drink available all day, as well as stalls. For the kids there is an inflatable pitch with activities run by Kellys Sports, as well as a playground close by. We also hope to have the involvement of Go For Your Life (the Victoria state physical activity initiative).

How is Fair Play promoted?

– over 400 A3 full colour posters across the local area
– 40 AO black and white posters on the streets
– slots on RRR, PBS and 3CR radio stations
– Estate Agent boards
– Full colour ad in the Melbourne Times
– Inclusion in the City Of Yarra ad in the Melbourne Leader
– editorial in the Melbourne Times and the Melbourne Leader
– Inclusion on the Cheap Thrills newsletter (goes out to 12,000)
– mentions on KissFM
– Posted on event websites, listings and forums
– Word of mouth

Sponsors have the opportunity to put up banners on the day, and set up information stalls or other activities.

What are the future plans for Fair Play?

Fair Play will continue to be held twice a year, with each event growing in size.

We have been approached by the Fair Trade Association to run the first event of the year to coincide with Fair Trade fortnight in May. Expanding the event from 16 teams to 24 teams is a goal which will take us beyond the limitations of the current venue at Clifton Tennis Club, Mayors Park.

We are currently investigating the idea of holding the event at Victoria Park, Abbotsford. The City of Yarra is a Fair Trade council and supports the Fair Trade Association. Indications are that the success and expansion of the Fair Play event is something which the council would support, and tying it in with Fair Trade stimulates some great synergies.

fair_play_4The first event would be May 2010 and the second in October 2010. We hope to emulate the success of The Community Cup which first began in 1997 as a fundraising football game between opposing factions of the Melbourne music community. That is, a bunch of musicians versus the radio stations on which they’re played. Over ensuing years the game has seen up to 20,000 people grace its grassy hillocks, as well as raise huge amounts of money for the traditional sponsors Sacred Heart Mission and this year Reclink.

How can you help?

Fair Play requires a large amount of organisation in the lead up and on the day.

It is run by Jon Hammond (City of Yarra, Director Cheap Thrills) and Paraic Grogan (Director HFCA, Co-ordinator Collingwood Allstars, Collingwood Community Development Officer) with the help of volunteers.

There are a many number of ways to help:

– Volunteering on the day
– Volunteering in the lead up to help with promotion
– Donation of prizes for raffle or winning teams
– Setting up a stall and donting some of the profits
– Corporate sponsorship

Contacts

Jon Hammond
jon@cheapthrills.com.au
0410 758 165

Paraic Grogan
pgrogan@hfcaustralia.org
0416 312 335

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