League turns down Sydney Swans’ request to paint 50-metre arcs in Pride colours for home clash with Collingwood Magpies
However, clubs are not allowed to change the line markings on the field.
Last season, Sydney played Essendon in the first game of a Saturday Pride round double header at Ikon Park in round eight, followed by a clash between Carlton and the Western Bulldogs.
The Swans wore their inaugural pride guernsey with a rainbow strip in the game, the same design that the men’s team has worn in its annual pride clashes with St Kilda.
Gowans said the club’s commercial team was working through how the Swans would celebrate this year but said they would do whatever they could to promote and celebrate diversity.
“It gives us another marketing opportunity as well … I just don’t know why the pushback is happening,” said Gowans.
“We try to do what we can for the community because at the end of the day, it’s the community that supports us.
“Inclusiveness and diversity, that’s super important to our value system and that’s why, I mean, it’s not just the marketing opportunity. It’s the right thing to do in our view.”
Sydney have been leaders in the LGBTQI+ space in professional sport, playing the only annual Pride game in the men’s fixture against St Kilda since 2016, and marching in the Mardi Gras parade since 2018. They are believed to be the first elite sporting team to enter a float in Sydney’s iconic pride parade.
Major sports have grappled with issues around Pride matches. Earlier this year, the Cairns Taipans refused to wear a rainbow logo on their tops for the NBL’s Pride round and last year in the NRL, seven Manly Sea Eagles players sat out round 20 after refusing to wear the club’s inaugural rainbow jersey.
In response to the NRL controversy in July last year, Sydney men’s co-captain Callum Mills said it was important everyone felt welcome at their games.
“From the club standpoint, we are really proud that anyone can feel safe coming to our games and be part of our support network, our supporters, our fans, that anyone can feel safe coming to our games,” Mills said at the time.
Gowans said the Swans AFLW team would push ahead with Pride celebrations at home.
“We’re going to celebrate it and do what we can for our fans,” said Gowans.
“And we’d love the AFL to support it and allow us to paint the 50-metre lines and do whatever we can but if not, we’ll forge ahead and do what we can to celebrate something that’s really dear to us.”
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