Football fans urged to U-NITE for interstate rivalry

Victoria's rich heritage will be on show at a sporting, music and cultural spectacular on Saturday night when football fans unite as one to celebrate multiculturalism and diversity though Melbourne Victory.

Victoria's rich heritage will be on show at a sporting, music and cultural spectacular on Saturday night when football fans unite as one to celebrate multiculturalism and diversity though Melbourne Victory.

The U-NITE concept has already proved to be a hit among football fans, with over 30-thousand fans flocking to Etihad Stadium for the inaugural event in 2009.

This year-s event was launched at Monash University on Tuesday October 12, when Melbourne Victory hosted a clinic for 200 Primary School children from the city-s south-eastern suburbs.

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A-League stars, Carlos Hernandez, Rodrigo Vargas, Ricardinho, Surat Sukha, Grant Brebner and Luke Pilkington were on hand to pass on tips and encouragement to budding young footballers.

With Victoria-s population consisting of people from over 200 countries and speaking just as many different languages and dialects - it makes Melbourne the most appropriate place to host such an event, given its unrivalled diversity.

Melbourne Victory CEO Geoff Miles says it-s a great opportunity to further expose the game of football to the masses “Our U-NITE game against Sydney FC celebrates the great contribution of our multicultural community to Victoria and to the growth of Victorian football.”

“This game enables Melbourne Victory to also acknowledge the great support we have received from fans from all backgrounds and cultures who have united behind our club in the Hyundai A-League.”

“We are also thrilled to be able to invite over 500 children from disadvantaged multicultural communities to attend the game.” Miles said.

The U-NITE clash will be held at Etihad Stadium on Saturday, October 16 (kick-off 6:45pm) and will not only showcase some fantastic football but also a multicultural carnival of entertainment with plenty of international flair starting from 6:15pm - something Melbourne is famous for.

“The build-up to the game on Saturday night will feature pre-match entertainment involving more than 100 entertainers representing all corners of the world and supported by over 500 boys and girls from junior football clubs.” Miles added.

“Japanese drummers, Brazilian dancers, an African fire show and an Indigenous ceremony will fill Etihad Stadium ahead of what is sure to be another stirring contest against our great rivals, Sydney FC.”

“We must also thank our U-NITE partners for their great support - FFA, Victorian Multicultural Commission, Sport and Recreation Victoria and Monash University.” Miles concluded.

With a list boasting more international flavour than most, Scottish-born Melbourne Victory coach Ernie Merrick said it was also an opportunity for Melbourne Victory fans to celebrate the unique cultural diversity of the club's players.

"Our fans are the best in the country, but I'm always fascinated to see how eclectic they are, with families, differing ages, ethnicities and backgrounds. I'm very supportive of the U-NITE concept and proud of what Victory has achieved in a short period of time with our fans," Merrick said.