A children’s organisation set up by the first Indigenous Australian to be selected for a national soccer team, John Moriarty, has been recognised for its work by FIFA, the world governing body for the sport.
John Moriarty Football (JMF) was a top three finalist in FIFA’s diversity award which was held in London last week.
The organisation was chosen by a high-powered panel of judges that included FIFA council members, referees and former players.
In its seventh year, JMF runs football programs for children aged six to 16 in the remote Northern Territory communities of Borroloola and Robinson River and uses sport as a tool to promote education, good health and well-being.
A Sydney scholarships program has also led to elite careers for five young players. Shay Evans, 17, became the first JMF footballer to be selected for Australia when she debuted for the Young Matildas in April.
“An important part of our mission is allowing these children to become an individual with a clear vision and aspiration so they can see the future themselves,” Mr Moriarty said.
“The game did so much for me, and I hope football can bring a brighter future to the young players our program works with.”
The FIFA diversity award was won by Kenya’s Horn of Africa Development Initiative. The other finalist was the UK-Ireland’s Show Racism the Red Card.
FIFA said the award was introduced in 2016 to recognise an organisation, group or personality standing up for diversity and anti-discrimination in football.
Mr Moriarty became the first Indigenous Australian selected for a national soccer team in 1960.