The AFL has officially announced a landmark State of Origin match to raise much-needed funds for the Australian bushfire disaster, as well as donating a whopping $2.5million to the cause on top of this.
Victoria will play an All-Stars line-up on Friday, February 28. All money raised will be used to boost a Community Relief Fund set-up by the AFL to help rebuild football facilities ripped apart by the national crisis across Australia.
The match is planned to be staged at Marvel Stadium, Melbourne.
The AFL ($1.35m) – in association with the clubs ($900,000) and AFL Players Association ($250,000) – have committed a $2.5million donation. This donation is on top of the planned State of Origin money that will be raised thanks to the event.
The landmark match is set to be played during the second weekend of the pre-season Marsh Community Series. Players will be selected in a process that is yet to be determined.
League chief executive Gillon McLachlan said he was blown away by the reaction to the cause.
Our industry is heartbroken by the devastation that the fires are causing around the country and our clubs and players have suggested a number of initiatives where we can support affected communities in the short and longer-term as they deal with the aftermath of these fires
A game of footy can’t change what has happened but it is a way for all of our clubs, our players and our fans to acknowledge the incredible sacrifice that so many have made in battling the fires and to support those communities that have been impacted by the bushfires.
We know that those communities are suffering now but they are also going to need our support as they start to rebuild. Sport builds bonds within communities and we want people to know they have the support of the entire football industry and that we will be there to help them rebuild facilities and programs and ensure people continue to come together.
On behalf of the AFL community, I also want to thank firefighters, members of the have given up their time – and in some cases their lives – to protect others. We are grateful for what you have done for our community.
We’re committed to putting on a great event for fans and hopefully raise a significant amount of money.
In addition to committing to this match, we’re proud to be able to make a $250,000 donation on behalf of all male and female players, which will be split amongst various charities to support those affected.