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Sport Rallies for Bushfire Relief

Sport Rallies for Bushfire Relief
February 10, 2009

Australia's major sports have joined to support victims of Victoria's bushfires, announcing plans to raise millions of dollars for the relief effort.

Football, AFL, cricket, rugby union and racing are making either donations or have announced plans for appeals or fundraisers.

Football Federation Australia (FFA) has announced a donation of $100,000 to the Red Cross Bushfire Appeal along with other measures to show support for the communities affected by the devastating bushfires in Victoria. As FFA Chief Executive Ben Buckley stated "everyone in the entire football community shares the disbelief at not only the tragedy in Victoria but the scale of it," adding that "our sympathy and heartfelt wishes go to all those who have suffered."

In addition to the cash donation, FFA will also provide replacement football equipment to schools and junior football clubs that have lost equipment in the bushfires, while the Qantas Socceroos playing a 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifier in Japan on Wednesday, and Hyundai A-League players participating in the semi-finals of the A-League this weekend, will wear black armbands as a mark of respect for those who have lost their lives.

The Australian Rugby Union (ARU) has united with Australia's four Super 14 provinces to co-ordinate at upcoming matches a series of fund-raising collections for victims of the Victorian bushfires.

ARU Managing Director and Chief Executive John O'Neill, having spoken with the chief executives of the NSW Rugby Union, Queensland Rugby Union, Rugby WA and the Brumbies have agreed that each of the provinces will co-ordinate collections at their respective grounds when they play their first home matches this season.

O'Neill went on to state "the victims and their families will need ongoing support and I'm sure the Rugby community will want to lend its assistance at each of our Super 14 venues by contributing to the Victorian Bushfire Appeal."

AFL Chief Executive Andrew Demetriou has urged supporters of all clubs to turn out in force for Friday night's Bushfire Appeal game between the Western Bulldogs and Essendon, the AFL having agreed to transfer the NAB Cup match from Darwin to Telstra Dome.

The AFL will donate all proceeds of the game to communities affected by the fires, and are hopeful of a capacity crowd.

An appeal was also be run at today's one-day cricket international between Australia and New Zealand at the Adelaide Oval, while revenue from tickets sold to the game will be donated.

The Australian players will donate their match fees from the game, while Cricket Australia has contributed $100,000 and the South Australian Cricket Association has pledged $25,000.

Cricket Australia Chief Executive James Sutherland concluded "it's a great opportunity for cricket to be used as a vehicle to make a contribution."

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