SUPPORTING INDIGENOUS FOOTBALLERS THROUGH THEIR JOURNEY
The AFL Players’ Association strives to support the industry to provide an inclusive environment for all AFL and AFLW players to thrive within.
There are more than 100 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander players on an AFL or AFLW list in 2020 and ensuring these members have the appropriate support through their football journey is a key priority for the AFLPA.
Over many years, the PA has worked with Indigenous people to help educate the AFL industry on the unique challenges faced by Indigenous players and put support mechanisms in place to help them develop as both footballers and people.
Central to that support is the AFLPA’s Indigenous Relationships Manager, Jamie Bennell, whose role is to connect Indigenous players with the services available to them through the AFLPA.
In addition to Jamie, the AFLPA’s Indigenous Advisory Board (IAB), represents all Indigenous players by using the power in the voice of the collective to influence key issues.
The IAB was born out of the AFLPA/AFL Indigenous Camp, which is a bi-annual event first held in 2000 where players from across the league come together on country to connect, learn and strategise ways to improve AFL experience for Indigenous players.
The Indigenous Best Practice Guidelines is an influential piece of work delivered by the IAB and provides a framework to develop an environment that best supports Indigenous footballers through the pillars of Induction, Professional Development, Personal Support and Our Culture.
The AFLPA’s Indigenous Map is released to coincide with Sir Doug Nicholls Round each year and represents all AFL and AFLW Indigenous players by showing where they come from and highlighting their cultural group.
The AFL Players’ Association has extensive experience providing cultural awareness education within the AFL industry and we have observed first-hand the positive impact cultural understanding can have on any environment.
The AFLPA is also in the process of completing its third Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP).