The undisputed fact that the roots of Australian football are intimately tied with the migrant communities is highlighted in a new documentary shown on Optus Sport.
The documentary titled “Football Belongs” was premiered last Monday at Palace Cinemas Central in Sydney and will be available to audiences on the Optus Sport app and website from today, 9 June.
The film focuses primarily on the influence of European migrant communities in developing the interest of football in Australia, speaking to numerous celebrities, club officials and supporters across the country.
Former Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou plays a pivotal role in the documentary, sharing his experiences of connecting with his father through football and South Melbourne Hellas.
The film shows a snippet of him talking to the Socceroos players in 2017, outlining how everyone was there because they had someone in their lives supporting them through their entire careers.
Football legend John Moriarty appears prominently in the documentary and attended the premiere.
Speaking to Neos Kosmos, the legendary Indigenous Australian football player said that it was important for the sport to be enhanced at all levels. It should be noted that through Mr Moriarty’s initiative, more than 1,500 Indigenous Australian children are receiving football training.
Executive producer Richard Bayliss said the film came about when he and fellow producer David Davutovic discussed ways to highlight Europe’s influence on Australian football as way of promoting the upcoming UEFA Euro 2020 tournament.
“Once we started filming various different community groups and clubs, we realised we had a lot more to work with and we had a documentary to potentially tell the story,” says Mr Bayliss.
Mr Bayliss said football as a sport reached deeper levels of community-building that other sports simply could not.
“The reality is that football brings a connection and a belonging to people that goes back decades, centuries and that richness needs to be told more and more, I think, in Australian football as well.”
Other prominent figures who appear in the documentary are ex-Socceroos coaches Rale Rasic and the late Frank Arok, current coach Graham Arnold, former internationals John Kosmina and Craig Foster, actor Nick Giannopoulos and many others.