Victorians urged to U-NITE for interstate rivalry

Victoria's rich heritage will be on show at a sporting, music and food spectacular later this month when football fans unite as one to celebrate multiculturalism and diversity.

Victoria's rich heritage will be on show at a sporting, music and food spectacular later this month when football fans unite as one to celebrate multiculturalism and diversity.

Joining Melbourne Victory players and fans for a kick on Etihad Stadium today, Acting Premier Rob Hulls urged as many Victorians as possible to turn out in force to support Australian football's biggest rivalry when Melbourne Victory meet Sydney FC at the U-NITE clash on Friday, October 9.

"Victorians are proud of our multicultural heritage and that-s why we are proud to support programs that both promote and strengthen our rich cultural diversity, " Mr Hulls said. "Football is a passion for so many Victorians, and the success of Melbourne Victory is helping bring diverse communities together to celebrate their passion for the world game.

"While the Round 10 A-League clash between the reigning premiers and Sydney FC promises to be a great sporting spectacle, it-s also a great opportunity to celebrate the contribution of all Victorians and the cultural diversity that makes our State such a great place to live."

Mr Hulls said the Brumby Labor Government had provided $20,000 funding for the U-NITE themed clash, providing an opportunity for 800 disadvantaged young people from a diverse range of backgrounds to attend the game and get more active and involved in sport.

The U-NITE clash will be held at Etihad Stadium on Friday, October 9 and will feature multicultural carnival entertainment showcasing international music, food and cultures.

"In Victoria we come from more than 200 countries of origin, speak more than 200 languages and dialects and follow almost 110 faiths - this enhances our reputation as a harmonious, vibrant and cohesive community," Mr Hulls said.

Melbourne Victory Chairman Geoff Lord said the game provided Victoria's multicultural communities with an opportunity to experience other cultures and support Melbourne Victory.

"Our football club is all about our fans, and we have created a fantastic environment for people to come together and enjoy our game," Mr Lord said.

"We've had a lot of positive feedback in relation to the welcoming atmosphere on offer at our games, so it's great to be able to celebrate a concept like this in recognising cultural diversity and the unity message."

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," Mr Merrick said.