One area that has excelled in recent years at Football West has been their CALD (Culturally and Linguistically Diverse) program which has been overseen by Gordon Duus. This program along with the initiatives such as Football with the Fuzz deliver football programs that encourage recent arrivals and former refugees to become involved in the world game. It is a superb program and Mr Duus does a superb job running the programs.
It is a vital program and one that is often overlooked in terms of receiving the recognition it deserves. It is an important program to help new arrivals to Australia integrate with the community and assist them to work to achieve their full potential as players, volunteers, administrators, coaches and referees. For many of them football is the one sport that they know and are familiar with and it helps give them a sense of belonging.
Australia’s football history reflects this, why did the former Yugoslavs, Italians and Greeks all set up football clubs? To remind them of home, give them a focal point and help them integrate into Australian society.
This week Mr Duus’s heart must have sank as he read the West Australian and the handling of the row over the tribunal hearing for Noranda Wolves player Hanan Anwan being held at Inglewood Hotel. Ms Anwan being a Muslim, and understandably taking offence at the insensitivity of the venue chosen for her hearing. Mr Duus must have felt that all his work had been put back years.
Let us hope that the communities that he is working with understand that this was an error of judgment by a few people and that the strength of Mr Duus’s character helps them rise above any offence they may have felt. It would be sad if the mistakes of a few cause harm to so many.