The Unity Cup is an initiative of the Australian Federal Police (AFP), AFL Multicultural Program and the Essendon football club and was first played in 2008.
The inaugural Unity Cup featured a round robin football challenge between four Muslim teams, consisting of local community members and representatives from the AFP and Victoria Police. It was focused on strengthening ties with Police, Muslim and other culturally and linguistically diverse communities (CALD) through a mutual appreciation of Australian Rules football.
The event has displayed a great capacity to embrace change and continues to evolve each year. The number of AFL clubs involved continues to grow with North Melbourne, Western Bulldogs, Melbourne and Hawthorn all participating at some stage. The format has been changed to AFL 9’s touch and the age group of the players was varied from adults to 15 to 19 years to make it more youth oriented.
Over the years Unity cup has also invited teams from interstate, however Victoria remains the home of the Unity Cup. In 2013 10 Victorian teams supported by Essendon, Melbourne, North Melbourne and the Western Bulldog entered the competition, with some young players experiencing AFL for the very first time.
After 6 years the Unity Cup continues to foster a mutual understanding and respect, highlighting positive ways Police and CALD communities work together.