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ALM, ALW set to launch maiden pride round

The A-League intends to launch its first pride round across both the men’s and women’s competitions next month.

It is understood that the weekend of February 24-26 has been pencilled in to host the initiative.

The weekend’s showpiece event will be a double header on the Sunday between Melbourne Victory and Adelaide United men’s and women’s sides.

Both Victory and Adelaide are set to unveil their own special kits on Monday and will compete for the Pride Cup.

The Pride Cup was launched last year after Victory fans abused Adelaide player Josh Cavallo – the competition’s only openly gay male player.

It will be the first time Cavallo has returned to AAMI Park to face Victory since he was met with homophobic slurs from the club’s supporters.

Mindful of being dragged into a public relations firestorm like the NBL, the Australian Professional Leagues have been holding seminars with clubs.

Players have been receiving education in recent months about why a pride round is an important step for the sport.

While some clubs will launch specific jerseys there has been no league-wide mandate.

Captains will be given the option to wear a rainbow armband and no player will be forced to wear something they are uncomfortable with.

Similar games and jersey initiatives in other codes have not been universally received.

NBL outfit Cairns Taipans chose not to wear their pride jersey, while NRL side Manly had seven players sit out of a game last year because of their opposition to the concept.

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