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Football experts discuss the big issues

Victoria University has gathered leading football academics, historians and commentators from around Australia and the world to discuss all things football.

Associate Professor Rob Hess said this week's Worlds of Football II conference tackled historical and modern-day issues in Australian Rules football, soccer, rugby league and rugby union.

"It's an exciting meeting of minds with experts across the codes discussing everything from football's origins through its transformations over time, to some of the big challenges it faces now such as racism and fans behaving badly," he said.

Beginning the three-day conference at 6.30 pm on 13 November is keynote speaker and England's National Football Museum director, Dr Kevin Moore, who will discuss the place of football heritage in contemporary popular culture. Dr Moore has been director of the successful museum since the beginning of the project in 1997 and is also chair of the Sports Heritage Network, the professional organisation for all the United Kingdom's sports museums.

Victoria University academic Matthew Klugman will discuss the significance of Nicky Winmar's iconic anti-racism gesture during an AFL match almost 20 years ago while Victoria University's Brent McDonald will look at the success of Pacific Island and Maori men in Australian rugby union. Other topics among the nearly 40 presentations include youth participation and retention, drug control policies, ugly parent behavior at junior matches and migrant legends in football.

ABC News journalist Paul Kennedy will discuss his documentary on the drowning of 15 boys and men from the Mornington Football Club nearly 120 years ago. In researching the film he discovered writings from regional papers on the origins of 'country football' played by the sons of pioneers, which included controversy and passion that would not be out of place today.

Meanwhile, SBS Sport journalist Les Murray and Sports and Editorial Services Australia's Roy Hay will delve into Soviet archives and academic histories to shed light on why the Hungarian football team did not appear at the Melbourne Olympic Games in 1956 to defend their Olympic title. 

See a full rundown of the conference program and abstracts attached.

The Football Studies Unit is part of the Sport and Culture Group, a collaborative group of scholars based in the School of Sport and Exercise Science at Victoria University. The groups aim is to advance critical understanding of sport through research and writings that explore the role of sport in local and global communities.

Anyone interested in attending the sessions, which will be held at the MCG and Whitten Oval, should RSVP to ensure access at [email protected]


For event information contact:

Rob Hess, Associate Professor

The Football Studies Unit, Victoria University

0401 017 717; [email protected]


Brent McDonald, Lecturer

The Football Studies Unit, Victoria University

0419 590 430; [email protected]


Media contact: 

Michael Quin, Research Writer

Public Affairs Unit, Victoria University

(03) 9919 9491; 0431 815 409; [email protected]

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