Rivals on the field, Victoria’s three clubs have united off it in order to come together and support communities and emergency services battling catastrophic bushfires across Australia.
Announced on Friday afternoon, the initiative by Melbourne City, Melbourne Victory and Western United will see $2 from every ticket sold for the A-League fixture between City vs United on Friday night and the W-League and A-League double-header between Melbourne Victory and Newcastle Jets on Sunday evening.
A state of disaster in the East Gippsland region was declared by Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews on Thursday evening in response to the ongoing fire threat.
With thousands of emergency services personnel heroically battling the blazes, tens of thousands across the country have been forced to flee in the face of the fires; haunting images of people attempting to shelter on beaches and of the devastation brought by the fires beamed out on news broadcasts across the world.
“We will be joining Melbourne City and Western United, donating $2 from every ticket sold for Sunday’s match to the Bushfire Disaster Appeal, which will help regional communities who need it most,” Victory CEO Trent Jacobs said.
“These are simply horrific circumstances. To all our members and fans, we encourage you to come along on Sunday, which will help support those affected by the bushfires, as well as supporting the Firefighters and Emergency Services personnel who are working tirelessly to keep Australians safe.”
At least 20 people — 16 from NSW, two from Victoria and two from South Australia – have been confirmed to have died as a result of the fires, with increasing fears that that number could be set to significantly rise as greater numbers of people are reported missing.
My last day of the decade felt like the apocalypse. Been covering the Australian bushfires for the last 6 weeks, but haven’t seen anything like yesterdays fire that decimated the town of Conjola, NSW. #bushfirecrisis #AustralianBushfires #NSWisburning work for @nytimes pic.twitter.com/KmVKqDMKsf— matthew abbott (@mattabbottphoto) January 1, 2020
Hundreds of homes and businesses have been lost and it has been estimated that over half a billion animals have also been killed in the fires.
“We are all devastated by the impact of the fires on communities around Victoria and across the country and in awe of the work of those tackling them,” Melbourne City CEO Brad Rowse added.
“We encourage our members and supporters who attend this weekend’s games or who are watching at home to please dig deep and donate whatever they can to this Bushfire Disaster Appeal.”
“I echo these sentiments and call on Western United members and fans to either get to our game tonight or donate whatever you can, as a way of supporting this important cause.”
Western United CEO Chris Pehlivanis concluded.
Also on Friday, the FFA announced that Canberra United’s W-League fixture with Sydney FC and Y-League clash with Newcastle that had been scheduled for January 5 had been postponed due to air quality forecasts predicting extremely hazardous conditions, with a new date to be announced at a later time.
Donations to the Bushfire Appeal can be made here.