The first multicultural audit of the players in the Hyundai A-League have revealed an extraordinarily diverse player base drawn from all continents with 56 ancestries represented.
The audit involved a survey of over 200 Hyundai A-League players across 10 clubs in 2011/12 and was commissioned by FFA as part of a multicultural fan engagement campaign.
It measured a number of variables including ancestry, player place of birth, languages other than English spoken and those who have one or more parent born overseas.
FFA CEO Ben Buckley said the findings came as no surprise.
“Football is the face of Australia. This audit gives some great insights into the vibrant and diverse cultural background of players in the Hyundai A-League and how our sport truly reflects the diversity of Australian society.
“Through the development of our National Multicultural Strategy, we are building links between our pool of Hyundai A-League role models into the communities to assist with multicultural integration and inclusion outcomes.
“The male and female ambassadors who will form part of our Harmony Through Football Program, which will be launched later this year, will provide an outstanding example of the cultural diversity of football in Australia,” Buckley said.
At the FFA Multicultural Strategic Planning Forum in July 2012, Senator Kate Lundy, Minister for Sport and Multicultural Affairs, talked about Football and its link to multiculturalism.
“I believe sport is central to the Australian way of life, and sport can help to teach children from all cultures values, such as self-discipline, team work and how to reach your goals," Lundy said.
“Football, as the world game, is well placed to deliver multicultural and inclusion outcomes.”
Hyundai A-League Multicultural snapshot (based on players surveyed):
- 87% of Hyundai A-League players had overseas ancestry (one or more grandparent born overseas)
- Of the Australian based Hyundai A-League teams - the overseas ancestry of players ranged from 100% for Adelaide United to 63% for the Newcastle Jets.
- The dominant continent for ancestry was Europe with 63% followed by those with Australian ancestry with 16%
- Of players with European ancestry, 54% were from Continental Europe, 38% come from the United Kingdom, 8% from Ireland.
- The dominant country of ancestry is England with 25%, Italy with 12% followed by Scotland with 10%
One or more parent born overseas
- 68% of the Hyundai A-League players have one or more parent born overseas, above the national average of 44.7% (Australia- Community Profile, ABS Census- 2011).
- Melbourne Victory had the most players with one or more parent born overseas for an Australian based club, with 87%
Overseas born players
- 33% of the Hyundai A-League players were born overseas, above the national population average of 26% (Australia- Community Profile, ABS Census- 2011)
- Perth Glory was the leading Australian team with 44% born overseas.
- Melbourne-based clubs had players with the highest linguistic diversity in the league
“With a sustained, integrated and genuine community engagement campaign, the Hyundai A-League can follow in the footsteps of Major League Soccer (MLS) in the USA which has used its diverse player base to reach its multicultural communities and as a result, achieved record fan growth," Reg Raghavan, lead analyst for the audit project at Red Elephant Projects, said.
The MLS has surpassed both the NBA and NHL in per game attendance and is the 10th highest attended football league in the world."
The first Hyundai A-League Sydney derby takes place this Saturday night when Western Sydney Wanderers FC host their first sold-out game against cross town rivals Sydney FC.
Football’s diversity will be in full bloom with the two squads including players from 14 countries representing five continents.