Football league for people with disabilities makes sure Aussie Rules is for all

Everyone in Australia should have the chance to play our national sporting codes at a competitive level. But for many people in the disabled community, mainstream football leagues don’t often provide that opportunity in a supportive environment.

That’s where the FIDA (Football Integration Development Association) Football League comes in – a competitive association of more than 600 players that offers people with an intellectual disability a fair go on the field.

FIDA player and Coach Luke Miles says the league has offered him just that: “I played mainstream football as a junior, but I never really got a go,” he says. “I have an intellectual disability and FIDA helped me get out there and improve my skills. It has made me a better player.”

Fight like a lion

In this documentary we capture the story of Luke and his Coburg Lions teammates and supporters, as they train and play their hotly-anticipated match against arch rivals, Lower Plenty.

“I have 38 people on my list with a big diversity of disabilities, from players with mild Down syndrome to mild cerebral palsy,” says Luke. “A lot of them wouldn’t be able to play in the mainstream league.”

The Victorian FIDA program provides a regular, competitive fixture of Australian Rules football for males and females with an intellectual disability, aged 14 and over. It runs across four metropolitan divisions and two country conferences in the state.

“They turn up every week with a “never say die” attitude and always have smiles on their faces,” says Luke. “They give 110 per cent every week — win lose or draw, they always give it their best.”

About the partnership

Together with the AFLW, we are proud to support the Victorian FIDA League through the latest in our series of community grants for community and minority groups not often given a voice.  We engage with these communities to understand their difficulties and challenges and how they are working for a fair go for their community.

Through this program we hope to inspire people at every level to be part of the game, and to talk about issues that matter most in the community.

We are proud to promote equality and a level playing field for all. Our aim is to send a message that all of our lives will be better, fuller and happier when we live in an equal world, a principle we have been fighting for over the past 100 years.

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