Last week, the much anticipated Crawford Report, or the Independent Sport Report was released in Australia.
wrote, “While the report did not recommend any cuts to elite sports funding, it took issue with the Australian Olympic Committee’s (AOC) quest to reclaim ‘top five’ status on the medal count at the 2012 London Olympics. As an example, it highlighted that archery – an Olympic sport – received more Government funds than cricket, which has more than 100 times the number of participants.”
AFL Chief Executive, Andrew Demitriou, a strong supporter of the Report, wrote an article in today’s “Age” newspaper titled, . Below is an edited extract:
The respect that the report shows for community volunteers and the important role they play should be applauded… It’s often the passion and the energy of volunteers that ensure sport plays an important community role beyond the pool or oval. It brings people together, not just to strive to win – but to share.
For an example of the impact of a community sporting club, look no further than the Kinglake Football and Netball Club which rose out of the ashes this year (after the Black Saturday bushfires).
…Despite the devastation to the town, it was important that the football club play on. That wasn’t necessarily about winning a premiership… but it was about uniting the community. Bringing people together to celebrate the game, to laugh, cry, talk, support each other and to share their grief and their desire to live through it.
People from across the community were able to join together – not just the netballers and footballers but also the supporters, family and friends.
…Footballers and netballers found themselves playing a leadership role in the community. In some ways that reflects the emphasis that Australians place on sport.
That is the power of sport – the power to strive to be the best of the best, the power to inspire but also the power to know that sport in itself is not the be-all and end-all. It is what it can do for the community, whether at a national or local level, that is important.
The Vietnam Swans are also staunch supporters and believers of the role of sport in the community. Recognising that it is usually the sporting clubs that are the lifeblood of local communities, the Vietnam Swans responded accordingly in the wake of the Black Saturday fires:
On 28 March this year, with the generous support of sponsors, more than USD3,000 was raised for the Yarra Valley Mountain District Football and Netball League (which includes Kinglake). The following day, a Tribute Match was played between the Vietnam Swans and the Bali Geckos as a gesture of support from “Asian Footy” for the fire-devastated communities.
The Vietnam Swans in Saigon are also actively supporting the establishment of the Saigon Shooters Netball Club. We have loaned the Shooters money to purchase their playing uniforms and they will also travel with the Swans to Bangkok next weekend to play in a netball tournament.