Football Federation Australia has today announced it will partner with the Australian Red Cross’ work, to support some of the most vulnerable caught up in the coronavirus pandemic across the country.
The move comes after Craig Foster and Adam Goodes announced they were launching a new campaign to encourage all sporting teams - from the professional to the grassroots - who are no longer able to play games or train to sign up as volunteers to help the elderly and disadvantaged.
Three teams in New South Wales - Foster and Goodes' Waverley Old Boys, Albion Park City FC and Hills United have committed to the #PlayForLives campaign.
FFA said it wants to use the power of the football community for good in this time of crisis.
"As the largest club-based participation sport in the country with a participation base of approximately 1.96 million participants, FFA recognise that football has an important civic duty towards the collective response to the COVID-19 pandemic," an FFA statement said.
"FFA is looking at innovative ways to use its platforms for the benefit of the wider community during these difficult times, and will commit its profile and connect its network, who reflect the diversity of our communities, to aid Red Cross in its efforts to respond to the effects of COVID-19 on community health and wellbeing."
Australian Red Cross Director of Volunteering Penny Harrison said: “As we all work to flatten the curve, as a community we must look out for each other, and especially those who are most isolated and vulnerable during this unprecedented time.
“Working with FFA means we can tap into the power of football and work with its amazing and diverse community of members and fans to support more Australians who are facing this crisis alone. This is the power of humanity in action.”
Foster said it was natural that he would approach football first and that the multicultural nature of the game was essential to Australia pulling together
"I want to congratulate all at FFA and of course Red Cross, who acted swiftly as soon as I raised the potential that sport can deliver," the former Socceroo said.
"Now it’s time for all sport to step up and that’s developing beautifully with genuine enthusiasm from all sport to help others. We’ll make an important difference to Australia."
FFA CEO James Johnson explained that the campaign would operate on a number of levels.
“We will work together connecting people online to share essential tools and tips to give all Australians practical ways to support each other, maintain their wellbeing, and stay safely connected.
“We will ask younger people across our network to promote the importance of practicing social distancing, washing hands and staying at home to help slow the spread of COVID-19.
“Finally, we may, as this situation evolves, be called upon to help Red Cross with critical volunteering gaps in essential services and to scale their response to COVID-19 as necessary. We look forward to contributing to this important work.
“The strength of our game lies in our community and our job will be to provide our participants with a link to the Australian Red Cross to contribute online and in other digital ways to support vulnerable Australians under the guidance of an expert partner in this field.
"We are delighted that football, in a whole of game effort, can commit this platform to Australian Red Cross and support them in their campaign to help Australians in need."