The highly-successful Bachar Houli program will be extended to include women and girls, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced today.
The new female element – which will be implemented by Richmond Football Club staff – was part of the increased funding of the program announced at the Swinburne Centre at Punt Road Oval.
The Bachar Houli Academy is a high-performance football talent program, while the Bachar Houli Cup engages over 5000 Islamic school students - providing a starting point for players from a Muslim background to transition into football pathways.
The funding will be used to grown the existing programs and to also include a female component to the Bachar Houli Academy and Schools Cup.
Bachar Houli said it was a privilege to be part of the program.
“I would like to thank the Federal Government for their continued support of the programs, providing real opportunities for the next generation of boys and girls playing and administering our great game,” Houli said.
“Being a part of the program is a great opportunity for young Australian Muslim boys and girls, providing them with a safe environment to grow culturally and to develop their leadership capacity using football as the vehicle.
“I want talented youth across the country to be given the best possible avenue, support and pathway into the elite system and while the Academy aims to recruit talented athletes, it's not all about football - we want them to grow as people and receive life education, building confidence, awareness and knowledge to succeed.”
Richmond CEO Brendon Gale said the club was extremely proud of the continued work of Bachar and his programs in creating both football development and employment opportunities for young Muslim men and women.
“Through his work in these programs Bachar has given Islamic children across the country the opportunity to pursue AFL and to learn important positive, leadership skills. To have this expand every year and to now include a female component, where young Muslim girls will have these opportunities, is a fantastic result,” Gale said.
Over 30 schools nationally participated in the Bachar Houli Cup. The Bachar Houli Employment program has employed ten trainees of a Muslim background across the AFL industry nationwide, including our very own Rana Hussain who works in fan engagement and marketing at Richmond.
Over the past year, the Bachar Houli programs has delivered:
• 10,000 participants across 30 schools nationally
• 25 participants selected in the Bachar Houli Acadmey with over 1000 boys participating in state trials
• A total of 150 participants have been part of the Academy since its inaugural year in 2012
• Seven participants selected on a leadership camp to the Qatar Aspire Academy
• 1000 attendees across five state-based Ramadan dinners
• 10 young men and women representing 15 cultural groups employed on 12-month traineeships across a diverse set of roles in the industry