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Football Workshops at the Australian Pavilion, Expo 2020 Dubai

Bachar Houli, AFL’s top ranked Muslim player, to run Aussie rules Football workshops at Expo 2020 Dubai

The Australian Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai announced today that Bachar Houli, Australian Football League’s top ranked Muslim player from the Richmond Club, and young Muslim footballers from Bachar Houli Youth Football Academy, will conduct Aussie Rules football workshops at Expo 2020 in the lead up to Australia’s National Day celebrations. The workshops will take place on 27-29 January 2022 at Aussie Park at Expo 2020 Dubai.

Bachar Houli is one of Australia’s most successful AFL players, having played over 200 games, including three premierships. His work with Bachar Houli Youth Football Academy and the Bachar Houli Foundation is an incredible example of how the power of sport can unite communities. He will meet his fans at the Australian Pavilion as part of the Australian National Day celebrations.

Bachar Houli is regarded as a role model for the Australian community due to his inspiring work promoting social cohesion and harmony. His dedication and commitment to community work with Muslim youth has made him one of Australia’s most prominent public figures. He has been internationally recognised and awarded the Beyond Sport achievement award for the Bachar Houli Islamic Programs in Philadelphia, USA, and High Excellence Award for Muslim and non-Muslim Understanding.

As a showcase of Australia’s rich sporting culture, Bachar Houli will conduct the ‘Skills and Thrills’ public workshop on 27th and 28th January 2022, and the ‘National Day Exhibition Match & AFL Clinic’ on 29th January 2022, both at Aussie Park.

Bachar Houli says: “In my experience, a lot of young Muslims feel they must stray from Islam to earn people’s respect. My belief, and my message, is the opposite, that doing the right thing and being proud of your identity and beliefs will bring you real success, and even more than that, respect for yourself and your faith.”

Justin McGowan, Commissioner General of Australia at Expo 2020 Dubai, said: “Sport is an integral part of Australian culture, with the unique power to bring people, communities, and nations together. It is a globally recognised vehicle to achieve development outcomes in areas such as health, social cohesion, gender equality and disability inclusion. Australia prides itself on its diversity and inclusion, using sports diplomacy to create social change and make a difference in the world. We are delighted to see Bachar Houli doing just that at Expo 2020 Dubai.”

Richmond Football Club is a Sports Partner for the Australian Pavilion. With over 100, 000 passionate members of the “Tiger Army,” the Club prides itself on continuing to build a strong and bold future. It was formed in 1885 and has won 13 Premierships in the history of the VFL/AFL competition, including recent successes in 2017, 2019 and 2020.

Bachar Houli Foundation (BHF) is a unique not-for-profit organisation that aims to develop young leaders within the Muslim community and support social cohesion by fostering young Muslims with a sense of belonging through football development. They have reached over 35,000 participants over five years. The Bachar Houli Cup program, played in schools throughout Australia, has engaged with over 8,000 participants across 30 Islamic schools.

Australia Football League (AFL) is one of the oldest and most popular sports in Australia and Australian Rules Football (Aussie Rules) origins date back to the 1800s. In 2021 the Grand Final match was attended by 61,118 spectators and drew a television audience of 4.11M – the highest watched television program in Australia to date for the year. Created to help keep cricketers fit during the winter of 1858, its founders gathered in East Melbourne in 1859 to write the first rules that formed the basis of today’s game. According to the AFL General Manager of Women’s Football, Nicole Livingstone, the AFL remains committed to ensuring that Australian Football is the most accessible, inclusive, visible sport in the country and the number one sporting choice for girls and women.

Australia is a major sporting event leader with a famed sporting culture and history. Australia’s success comes from a long-term investment in people, community-based sport, and the development of technical expertise. Australia embraces the role sport can play in benefiting and engaging individuals and communities regardless of age, race, gender, cultural background, and physical ability.

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