AFL FANS ASSOCIATION (AFLFA): “GIVING FOOTY FANS A VOICE”
Footballer and diversity campaigner Jason Ball has accepted the role of AFL Fans Association patron. He joins former Western Bulldogs vice president and AFLW champion Susan Alberti AC.
A long-term Collingwood member, Jason is a passionate LGBTIQ+ and mental health advocate. After coming out in 2012, he launched a change.org petition to challenge homophobia in the AFL.
This led to the screening of anti-homophobia messages on the big screen at AFL matches.
Jason's story has been used in AFL education programs and he consulted with the AFL Players Association on a player-led social media campaign to challenge homophobic language in sport.
His advocacy also helped drive the first AFL Pride Game between St Kilda and Sydney in 2016.
"I'm delighted to be able to work with the AFL Fans Association to provide a voice on behalf of the LGBTIQ+ community,” Jason says. “AFL should be a sport that everyone feels safe to enjoy, regardless of sexuality or gender identity."
International Out on the Fields research, which investigates homophobia in sport, found that:
- 78 per cent of respondents believe an openly gay person would not be very safe as a spectator at a sporting event
- 80 per cent have witnessed or experienced homophobia in sport, with homophobic language the most common.
AFL Fans Association president Cheryl Critchley says Jason is a perfect fit for the AFLFA, as a passionate football fan and diversity champion. She says there is still a lot of work to do in this space.
“It’s really important for football to be inclusive,” Cheryl says. “We’ve come a long way but there is still room for improvement. Jason is a wonderful ambassador for diversity and football generally.”
Jason is also an ambassador with the Victorian Pride Centre, Safe Schools Coalition, Melbourne Queer Film Festival, Human Rights Arts & Film Festival and Beyond Blue.
He has been a Collingwood member for more than 20 years but is willing to back any club working to create a safe and welcoming environment for LGBTIQ+ players and fans. AFLFA membership is free, and fans are encouraged to join at www.aflfans.org.au
More information: AFLFA president Cheryl Critchley or Spokesperson Ron Issko . Email: email@example.com