The Australian Professional Leagues (APL) has announced the continuation of its Pride Celebrations, in an ongoing commitment to making soccer accessible and inclusive for all.

Set to take place from March 8-10 in Australia and March 30 in New Zealand, across both the A-League Women and A-League Men competitions, the 2024 celebration builds on the success of last year as the A-Leagues became the first league in the world to hold simultaneous men’s and women’s Pride Celebrations grounded in education.

A series of initiatives have been developed by the APL over the last two and a half years, like a comprehensive training program for players, staff, executives and partners, and the roll out of GoBubble technology to help moderate online hate.

This year, the A-Leagues are once again providing LGBTIQ+ inclusion training to all players and key stakeholders.

The training content is being uniquely designed for the players by players.

The March celebrations will be headlined by the annual Pride Cup double-header between Adelaide United and Melbourne Victory.

Through the celebratory weekends, a number of men’s and women’s teams will also celebrate Pride in their own way, through engaging community groups, rainbow corner flags, rainbow armbands, while some clubs will play in a special Pride kit and rainbow socks.

“The Pride celebration is another example of how welcoming and inclusive football is as a sport for everyone in Australia and New Zealand,” A-Leagues Commissioner Nick Garcia said in a media release.

“We began this journey with Pride Cup and the PFA in 2021 and are looking forward to continuing what is an extremely important initiative within our game.

We are proud of the efforts that football in Australia and New Zealand has made to make football more inclusive for fans, players and staff and we look forward to continuing to play our part in 2024.

“The Pride Celebration is grounded in education and training with the ambition of seeing every person involved within our game in Australia and New Zealand feeling safe and included.”

Central Coast Mariners Women’s captain Taren King, who is also the Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) Player Representative shared her excitement and believes the platform players have can make a big difference.

“I’m really excited for Pride round this season. Last year we saw a number of clubs make a big effort to show their support for the LGBTQI+ community and I’m looking forward to seeing more clubs get around the initiative this season,” she said.

“I think it’s so important that both clubs and players use their platforms to show our fans that everyone has a place in our game and all individuals are accepted for who they are.”