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Is This Australia’s Most Inclusive Sporting Team?

You’ve heard of the Matildas and the Socceroos, our national women’s and men’s football teams, but the Melbourne Rovers are perhaps our nation’s most impressive team.

In Partnership with Skittles 

Rolling Stone AU and SKITTLES® drop in to play with the Melbourne Rovers, Australia’s most inclusive soccer team.

It’s no secret. Australia prides itself on being a sporting nation. We love watching it, playing it, betting on it, screaming at it. It’s one of the major ways we connect, both with ourselves and with each other.

Whether it’s on a court, a field, a green, on the coast, or in the city, you’d think this thing we all adore would be inclusive for all. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. 

In 2024, discrimination and homophobia still exist in sport at every level, especially for the LGBTQIA+ community. There’s an ongoing need for education, advocacy and allyship country-wide. But in some pockets, kind and compassionate people are joining forces to create safe spaces for everybody to play. 

Enter: the Melbourne Rovers. 

You’ve heard of the Matildas and the Socceroos, our national women’s and men’s football teams, but the Melbourne Rovers are perhaps our nation’s most impressive team. Standing out for its commitment to diversity, inclusivity, and the love of the game, the Rovers, together with longtime LGBTQIA+ ally SKITTLES®, are proving that the true colours of sportsmanship are as diverse as the rainbow. 

Established in June 2008, the club has created a space where players, regardless of their gender, age, sexual orientation or background, come together to share their passion for soccer. They run social soccer throughout the year, and in 2023, launched their inaugural Winter Women’s Team. 

“The Melbourne Rovers are one of Australia’s first inclusive soccer teams,” explains Chris Wells, the team’s president. “We have men, women, non-binary and trans players amongst our ranks.” 

Rolling Stone AU and SKITTLES® recently sent comedian and drag queen Carla from Bankstown to the Melbourne Rover’s home field to play Assistant Coach for the day and find out the special sauce behind the team’s success on and off the field. 

“Every minority needs a space, and we offer that. That’s my main objective,” Wells tells Rolling Stone AU. The team believes the more representation seen in sport, the more diversity will spread and, hopefully, become the norm. 

While the soccer team creates an invaluable space within the sporting world, SKITTLES® is busy building a space in the digital world. For the last two years, the brand has partnered with youth charity Minus18 to help build the next generation of allies.

If you’re keen to become a more active voice in the queer community, but aren’t sure where to start, check out their Active Ally Guide. It’s an opportunity to educate ourselves, to understand the nuances of allyship, and to play a bigger role in creating a more inclusive world. 

Whether it’s in sport or in your own community, we can all kick goals for equality and acceptance. It all starts with allyship. 

Watch Carla from Bankstown meet the team behind the iconic Melbourne Rovers, find out why diversity and inclusion is so important within sport, and spread the joy with SKITTLES®.

Visit skittles.com.au to start your ally journey today.

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