From multicultural entertainment to a football game, organizers say this is an event ‘like no other’
Melbourne will unite as one for a series of events to celebrate Australia Day at Melbourne Victory’s fifth annual U-NITE blockbuster at Etihad Stadium in Melbourne on Sunday, 26 January, 2014.
U-NITE began in 2010 to celebrate multiculturalism, cultural diversity and how Melbourne Victory and football can bring together Melbourne’s richly diverse communities.
More than 35,000 fans of all ages, nationalities and backgrounds will gather at Etihad Stadium to witness the intense rivalry between Hyundai A-League heavyweights Melbourne Victory and Sydney FC.
Melbourne Victory CEO, Ian Robson said, “U-NITE is fast becoming one of Australia’s must-see events on our sporting calendar. This is the perfect opportunity to celebrate Melbourne’s diverse and multicultural communities on one of the most iconic days of the year, Australia Day by bringing people together through football.”
Mr Robson added that they have worked closely with various stakeholders to create an Australia Day event ‘like no other’. “There is plenty of activity after the game at the Docklands New Quay Piazza. We encourage our fans to enjoy the traditional fireworks and other entertainment on offer,” he said.
The U-NITE blockbuster kicks off with multicultural entertainment on the stadium’s concourse featuring diverse Melbourne acts including Japanese drummers Wadaiko Rindo, Afro Brazilian entertainers Maracatu Estrela Do mar and a traditional Chinese Dragon dance provided by the Chinese Youth Society of Melbourne.
The curtain-raiser will feature a clash of continents as Unite FC, an elite Melbourne Horn of African youth team, takes on the Victorian Asian All-stars. Both teams will be trained by Melbourne Victory youth coaches in the lead up to the game.
In partnership with the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, 100 new Australians will become naturalised at the game including completing their pledge of allegiance on the pitch prior to the game in front of the huge crowd.
In what will be a spectacular pre-game sight, the ‘Flags of the World’ ceremony will feature 210 flag bearers walking onto the pitch displaying the flags of each country, followed by a stirring live Bag Pipe rendition of ‘Victory the Brave’ as the teams walk onto the pitch.
Once the players have lined up on the pitch the National Anthem will be sung by ‘The Voice’ semi-finalist, Australian Tongan, Fatai Veamatahau.
Multicultural community children will also be heavily involved as player mascots accompanying the players onto the ground and participating in small sided football games at half-time.
Melbourne Victory would like to thank the supporters of the fifth annual U-NITE game including the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, Football Federation Australia, AFC Asian Cup 2015, Football Federation Victoria, the Victorian Multicultural Commission, Max Events, Red Elephant Projects and Multicultural Arts Victoria.
BOX: U-NITE Australia Day Celebration
Game: Hyundai A-League rivalry game – Melbourne Victory v Sydney FC
Date: Australia Day, January 26, 2014
Venue: Etihad Stadium, Melbourne
3.30pm – 5.15pm – Concourse Multicultural Entertainment
3.30pm – 4pm – Curtain Raiser youth Game – Unite FC v Victorian Asian Allstars
4.50 pm – Flags of the World Ceremony & Bag Pipers for team entries
5pm – DIAC Citizenship Ceremony on field
5.05 pm – Match Kick off