Indigenous Football Week 2023 celebrates the power of community to create opportunity

Indigenous Football Week® 2023 will be held 30 October to 5 November and will unite the football community to recognise the impacts of self-determined Indigenous football programs and ensure they have a sustained place in the game.

Indigenous Football Week (IFW), a John Moriarty Football (JMF) initiative, in partnership with with A-Leagues and Professional Footballers Australia (PFA), will be celebrated across the Isuzu UTE A-League Men and Liberty A-League Women, as well as in JMF communities and schools across NT, NSW and Queensland.

As a displaced child of the Stolen Generations, JMF co-founder/co-chair and the first Aboriginal footballer selected for Australia, Yanyuwa man John Moriarty AM found acceptance in the football community. At a time when Australia had not yet enacted the 1967 Referendum to give Aboriginal people citizenship, Australia’s football community warmly welcomed John with his skills, speed and character.

At the heart of JMF is li-ngambala wiji, which in John Moriarty’s Yanyuwa language means community. JMF’s pathways from grassroots to elite football begin at the community level, by supporting talented young Indigenous footballers within their own communities to develop their football skills and do well at school.

“We draw on the cultural strengths of our local coaches and community advisory groups, made up of local elders, Traditional Owners and community members. JMF is all about self-determination to address the extreme social disadvantage and barriers to football opportunity that Indigenous players face in many remote and regional communities across Australia,” said Mr Moriarty.

Prominent Indigenous footballer, former Socceroo and current A-Leagues Men Perth Glory player, David Williams, will be the 2023 Indigenous Football Week® Patron.

“Being Patron for IFW23 is a huge honour. As one of the few professional Indigenous footballers in Australia, I believe it’s important to be a role model and help create pathways for young Indigenous players, particularly those from the bush. The work John Moriarty Football does is inspirational and I’m proud to be involved,” said Mr Williams.

For the third year IFW will be run in partnership with A-Leagues. Each A-League match will include a Welcome to Country ceremony, a celebration of Indigenous culture and the opportunity for fans to celebrate and donate to further the work of JMF.

Australian Professional Leagues Commissioner Nick Garcia commented, “Indigenous Football Week is an important part of the A-Leagues calendar as we celebrate the contribution of First Nations people to the game and reflect on how we can make our game ever more culturally safe and inclusive. We are proud to support the work of the Moriarty Foundation.”

Kathryn Gill, Professional Footballers Australia Co-CEO, said, “JMF is an excellent example of how the most impactful organisations in addressing indigenous issues are indigenous-led. The PFA is delighted to again partner with JMF in support of Indigenous Football Week 2023.”

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