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UFC’s Fight Island to showcase Australian champion Alexander Volkanovski


When NRL Island was floated by Project Apollo as one of the ways to get the footy back on track during the coronavirus shutdown, it was justifiably seen as a bit of a joke.

Gilligan, Lord of the Flies, some too-real stuff about what rugby league players could get up to away from the prying eyes of the mainland … every version of every quip was made.

Ultimately it wasn’t required, but the UFC is making it a reality.

On Sunday, some of the mixed martial arts world’s biggest names will square up on “Fight Island” for UFC 251.

What is ‘Fight Island’?

It very much does what it says on the tin. It’s an island, where there will be fighting.

The UFC reached an agreement with Abu Dhabi to hold its most recent event on Yas Island, which is home to luxury hotels, beaches, a Formula One circuit and a golf course.

The sun sets on a UFC octagon on Yas Beach in Abu Dhabi. A palm tree is in the foreground.
Shots of an octagon on the beach looked idyllic in promotional shots but were never realistic.(Twitter: UFC)

You may also have seen shots of an octagon on the beach, but that, according to the UFC, was built solely “for the fighters’ enjoyment” (read: for promotional images). And that’s probably a good thing, considering temperatures are expected to nudge 50 degrees Celsius on Sunday.

The real fights will be held in the air-conditioned Flash Forum, where luminaries such as The Wiggles have performed and the UFC has hosted previous events, as far back as 2010 and as recently as last September.

An 11-kilometre stretch of the island has been cordoned off as a “safe zone” for the fighters and crew, with employees required to quarantine for 14 days in Yas hotels and undergo three tests in the lead-up.

“Innovative ‘mist tunnels’ — 1.5-metre passageways on entry to the venue — have been added to sanitise everyone entering, with the mist killing 99 per cent of surface bacteria,” Abu Dhabi’s Department of Culture and Tourism (DCT) said.

The whole “safe zone”, according to the DCT, took 350 tonnes of steel and 18 kilometres of cables to build.

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While the employees on the island have had to quarantine for two weeks, the fighters touched down in the UAE just a couple of days ago and the UFC said they were tested on take-off, landing, two days after arrival and will be tested once again before the fight.

After Sunday’s bouts, there are at least three more fight nights slated on the island over the next two weeks.

How did we get here?

The UFC's octagon, with the wire from in the foreground, on Yas Beach in Abu Dhabi (also known as Fight Island).
There will be three title fights on Sunday.(Twitter: UFC)

Three months ago, White was bragging about how his organisation was going to be the first sport to come back after COVID-19 started shutting down the world.

In reality, the sport stopped for almost two months, from March 15 to May 10, despite White’s repeated insistence that they would have events through April.

Even so, Fight Island was on June 10 confirmed as the ninth UFC event since the shutdown.

All of them have gone ahead with strict health and safety measures in place, and no crowds.

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The island idea was first mentioned back in early April, when White said he secured a location and the infrastructure was being built.

It was initially supposed to be a measure to ensure international fighters could get in the ring and to avoid, in White’s words, “smoking all the talent in the United States”.

Who’s fighting?

Alexander Volkanovski leans back and screams, with his fists clenched
Aussie Alexander Volkanovski (right) beat Max Holloway for the featherweight belt in December.(AP: John Locher)

There are three belts up for grabs on Sunday, with Australian featherweight champ Alexander Volkanovski among the fighters.

He’s scheduled for a rematch with Max Holloway after beating the American back in December to become the sport’s first Australian-born champion.

That precedes the main event: a welterweight title bout between Kamaru Usman and Jorge Masvidal.

Highlighting the dangers of an event like this in the middle of a pandemic, Masvidal himself wasn’t even supposed to be fighting in UFC 251, only getting a shot after Brazil’s Gilbert Burns tested positive for coronavirus last week. Then Masvidal’s coach tested positive, meaning he couldn’t make the trip.

The other title fight is between Russian Petr Yan and Brazilian Jose Aldo for the bantamweight belt.

Elsewhere on the main card, Rose Namajunas is taking on Jessica Andrade in the strawweight division, and flyweights Paige Vanzant and Amanda Ribas face off.



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Sexual assault cases skyrocket in NSW: Australian Bureau of Statistics


The number of victims of sexual assault in New South Wales has skyrocketed to a 10-year high, according to new data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Data from 2019, released on Thursday, shows an 8 per cent increase, from 10,241 victims in 2018 to 11,009 in 2019 – the highest number of victims in the past 10 years.

Of those, one in five were male – the largest proportion of male victims in the country.

Half of the male victims were under the age of 15, while more than a quarter of female victims were between 15 and 19 years old.

More than three-quarters of people knew their attacker, and 60 per cent of assaults took place at a home.

Nearly a third were acts of family violence.

The ACT was the only other state to record an increase, with their assault rate spiking by 18 per cent to a total of 327 victims in 2019.

Similarly to NSW, most victims were female and knew their attacker. More than a third of assaults were acts of family violence, and two-thirds of all attacks took place at a residence.

Our Watch CEO Patty Kinnersly told NCA NewsWire while it was a positive step that more victims appeared to be reporting assaults committed against them, domestic and family violence and sexual assault cases were still “vastly underreported”.

“Increased awareness and greater public discussion which enhances the community’s understanding of what constitutes violence against women is definitely a positive development,” she said.

“It wasn’t that long ago that domestic violence was seen as a ‘private’ issue not to be discussed in public.

“Greater reporting and awareness also mean that survivors will not feel stigmatised or discouraged from reporting their experiences and thus will add weight to the momentum required to make important legal and cultural changes that will continue to keep women safe.”

Ms Kinnersly added that more action needed to be taken to address the underlying drivers of violence against women, with prevention strategies that reach everyone in the community, before numbers would drop.

As NSW and the ACT grapple with their rising crime figures, sexual assaults in South Australia hit a four-year low.

SA Attorney-General Vickie Chapman attributed the drop, the first since 2016, to a new government focus on the issue.

“This government has been focused on implementing policies in the domestic and family violence space since being elected, and it’s pleasing to see some of these policies translating to lower rates of crime such as sexual assault,” she said.

Nationally, victims of robbery increased for the fourth consecutive year to 11,775 victims, and motor vehicle theft hit a seven-year high.



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Australian Government suspends extradition treaty with Hong Kong


The Australian government has officially moved to suspend the nation’s extradition treaty with Hong Kong in light of China’s new national security law.

On Thursday evening the Prime Minister Scott Morrison released a statement in conjunction with Minister for Foreign Affairs Marise Payne and Attorney-General Christian Porter announcing the news.

“The Australian Government remains deeply concerned about China’s imposition of a broad national security law on Hong Kong,” it said.

MORE: PM confirms treaty suspension

“The National Security Law erodes the democratic principles that have underpinned Hong Kong’s society and the One Country, Two Systems framework.”

“It constitutes a fundamental change of circumstances in respect to our Extradition Agreement with Hong Kong.

As a result, we have today taken steps to suspend our Extradition Agreement. We will continue to monitor developments in Hong Kong closely.”

Addressing the move earlier on Thursday, the Prime Minister said the decision reflects the “reality” on the ground in Hong Kong.

“Our decision to suspend the extradition agreement with Hong Kong represents an acknowledgment of the fundamental change of circumstances in relation to Hong Kong because of the new security law,’’ he said.

“Which, in our view – and this is not just our view, this is, I’d say, a shared view of many countries – that it undermines the One Country, Two Systems framework, and Hong Kong’s own basic law and the high degree of autonomy guaranteed in the Sino-British Joint Declaration that was set out there.

The PM also announced Hong Kong residents and students currently in Australia will have their visas extended for five years with a pathway to permanent residency provided.

“Australia has always been a very welcoming country to such people from all around the world, and our immigration system is the best in the world. It has the best controls, it has the best targeting, it has the best focus, and immigration as a result has been a pillar of the strength of our nation, not just our economy but our society as well.

“We are a great immigration nation,” he said.

– With Samantha Maiden



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Patty Mills to donate entire $1.5m salary from NBA restart to Australian black communities


Patty Mills will donate “every cent” of the almost $1.5 million he will make playing for the San Antonio Spurs in the upcoming NBA restart to social justice causes in Australia.

The Spurs are scheduled to enter the NBA’s “bubble” at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida on Thursday.

Mills said the $1.458 million he is due to earn will be donated to Black Lives Matter Australia, Black Deaths in Custody and The We Got You campaign.

“I’m playing in Orlando because I don’t want to leave any money on the table that could be going directly to black communities,” Mills told reporters.

The veteran Australian point guard said he had been encouraged by the public response to the Black Lives Matter movement since the police-arrest death of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May.

Patty Mills drives for San Antonio Spurs while being defended against by Jeff Green and Kyle Korver of Cleveland Cavaliers.
Patty Mills has played for the San Antonio Spurs since 2012.(AP: Tony Dejak)

“For the first time in my career, I have white people — teammates, old teammates, old coaches — telling me they never knew the level of racism that exists in sport, especially in Australia,” Mills said.

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“They haven’t felt comfortable asking me, as a black Australian, about racism before, which speaks to the impact and value of the Black Lives Matter movement and the millions who have participated in protests around the world.”

The Spurs sit in 12th spot in the Western Conference and will likely need to win all eight of their games in Orlando for a chance to make the playoffs.

Their first game is against the Sacramento Kings on July 31.

The NBA season was shut down on March 11 after Utah Jazz centre Rudy Gobert tested positive to COVID-19.

The NBA is working with players to use the restart — held under strict protocols to limit exposure to the virus — to promote social justice.

Mills is ready to seize the opportunity.

“I’m looking forward to Orlando as an opportunity to be able to launch my mission of race and social justice,” Mills said.

“I’m very eager, just like I am on the court, to be able to rise to the occasion and make a direct impact.”

AAP



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Business

It’s been brutal for Australian funds managers who eschewed Afterpay


Morgan Stanley appears not prepared to raise its target price to align with Afterpay’s underwritten floor issue price of $61.75. While acknowledging the “impressive update” the firm hedged its bets with a target price of $36. Goldman Sachs, which partnered with Citi as co-underwriter, has joined UBS as another outlier having stuck with the $25.75 target price it set in April.

After being swamped with interest in the issue, the institutional raising was struck at $66 – awarding Macquarie the prize of being closest to the pin – at least for now. The stock traded at about $66.50 on Tuesday.

Whether any of these analysts believe that Afterpay is 50 per cent more valuable today than it was a week ago is highly debatable. Most must surely ascribe some meaningful risk to a company that’s in the business of issuing unsecured consumer credit during a recession – even one that wears the gloss of a fintech and whose business model is supported by structural changes in consumer behaviour.

Most of these analysts have just been caught on the wrong side of a trade. There would be under immense pressure to upwardly revise their share price targets as the price skyrocketed into the stratosphere. The performance update was undoubtedly a very handy catalyst for some of them.

But equally the flood of new stock provided by the $650 million institutional placement and the $250 million selldown by the founding shareholders, Nick Molnar and Anthony Eisen, provided institutional investors that had been standing on the sidelines with the opportunity to take a position.

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There were about 200 institutional investors that took stock, many of whom are new to the share register – a group described by advisers as the “who’s who of Australian funds management”.

This year it was becoming increasingly brutal for Australian funds managers that had eschewed Afterpay. It has been the strongest share price performer among Australia’s larger companies and given its market capitalisation of about $18 billion, fund managers without a stake have struggled to perform.

Add to that the fact that Afterpay has become the new darling of offshore tech investors, who were also well represented in the conga line of buyers that took part in the equity raising. Traders suggest it is the offshore interest that has pushed the price hardest.

The selldown by the founders created the opportunity for more investors to pile in where under normal circumstances it would have raised a cautionary red flag. Nor did investors seem concerned about the fact that at least part of the Afterpay capital raising was earmarked for balance sheet fortification or a risk protection measure.

Rather, there was an emphasis on the prospect of Afterpay making an acquisition. There is a view that the company may want to purchase the Afterpay naming rights for Europe to assist it with global branding.

In the UK Afterpay trades under the brand Clearpay after a rival European company secured rights to use the Afterpay name in the critical market. The European incumbent is an Amsterdam-based company owned by Arvato – the financial services arm of German conglomerate Bertelsmann.

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Cricket Australia and Australian Cricketers’ Association agree to postpone revenue projection


Cricket Australia and the Australian Cricketers’ Association have reached an agreement over a contentious revenue forecast model that threatened to further strain the relationship between the players and governing body.

Last month, the Australian Cricketers Association (ACA) rejected forecasts from Cricket Australia (CA) that the game was set to lose hundreds of millions of dollars as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

It cited a lack of confidence in CA’s figures, saying the forecasts “do not appear to be reasonable or consistent with an obligation of good faith”.

That led the ACA to issue a notice of dispute with CA, which has now been withdrawn.

“The parties have agreed to postpone the Australian Cricket Revenue projection until such time they are better able to assess the financial impact of the pandemic and calculate a clear projection for the year ahead,” a statement from CA read.

Cricket Australia chief executive Kevin Roberts looks to his left at an outdoor media conference.
Kevin Roberts resigned from his post at Cricket Australia in June.(AAP: David Crosling)

“The [revenue projection] will be reassessed in due course.”

CA thanked the ACA for the “constructive manner” in the way they approached discussions in a “challenging time for the game”.

The ACA welcomed what it described as a “reset” of the revenue forecast made in June by Cricket Australia (CA).

ACA chief executive Alistair Nicholson said, “this ‘reset’ is both welcome and sensible”.

CA said that calculating revenue projections during the pandemic “has not been without its challenges, but we believe we have arrived at a position that provides all parties with greater certainty about how to navigate the next year”.

So far, the only two tours impacted by the coronavirus shutdown involving Australia have been a two-Test tour of Bangladesh and a limited overs visit to Australia from Zimbabwe.

India captain Virat Kohli kisses the Border-Gavaskar Trophy after India wins a Test series against Australia.
India is set to return to Australia this coming summer.(AP: Rick Rycroft)

The lucrative four-Test series against India scheduled for this summer is still expected to go ahead.

Former CA chief executive Kevin Roberts, who resigned from his position in June, said in May that the chances of India touring were “9 out of 10”.

In April, Cricket Australia stood down 200 staff on 20 per cent pay, before cutting 40 last month to “partly mitigate” the effect of coronavirus on the board’s finances.

Cricket Australia also asked the states to take a 25 per cent cut in grants, but NSW Cricket chairman John Knox has confirmed his state has “no intention” of making cuts to staff.



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Queensland ends losing streak against New South Wales to launch Australian Super Rugby competition



The Queensland Reds have ended an 11-match losing streak against the New South Wales Waratahs, defying a second-half comeback to win 32-26 in Super Rugby AU’s launch this evening.

The Reds cruised to a 19-7 lead at Lang Park in Brisbane but suddenly looked like the team that had not beaten their border rivals in seven years.

Crushed in scrums and without the sin-binned Angus Bell for 10 minutes, the Waratahs still found a way to collect regular points and finished the half behind by just six.

Eight minutes into the second half they led by four when Jack Maddocks streamed on to a Lachie Swinton pass and through a gaping hole.

Harry Wilson sniffed out a five-pointer in reply though, before Taniela Tupou was sent to the sin-bin for taking out a kicker for the second time.

Waratahs five-eighth Will Harrison drilled an equaliser for the visitors but James O’Connor stepped up with a penalty of his own with three minutes to play.

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O’Connor then repeated the dose when the full-time siren sounded, with the Reds scoring four tries to two in front of 5,590 spectators.

Reds captain Liam Wright and Fraser McReight combined well in their first start together in the back row, while number eight Wilson continued his strong pre-coronavirus shutdown form.

Wright scored first and thought he had a second when he ran around the ruck to plant a loose ball in front of a sleeping Waratahs defence.

It was deemed offside though, as was a Tupou effort moments earlier as the Reds threatened to run away with the clash.

Tate McDermott darted in from a quick tap, while Filipo Daugunu crossed in the corner and Harry Johnson-Holmes burrowed over for the Waratahs’ first-half try.

The visitors gave away 18 penalties to the Reds’ nine, with tougher policing of the ruck and the novel 50-22 or 22-50 kicking rules both impacting play.

Super Rugby AU also includes the Brumbies, Melbourne Rebels and Western Force.

The Brumbies and Rebels face off at Canberra Stadium tomorrow evening.

AAP/ABC



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Australian Open 2021 will take place in Melbourne, despite coronavirus concerns


The 2021 Australian Open will proceed in Melbourne — and Melbourne only — despite Victoria’s alarming COVID-19 spike.

Victoria on Friday reported another 66 coronavirus cases, the 17th straight day of double-digit infection numbers, prompting talk that the season-opening grand slam may need to shift to either Sydney or Brisbane.

But that won’t be happening, according to tournament boss Craig Tiley, who is continuing to plan for six different scenarios ranging from a worst-case broadcast-only event, to as close to business as usual as possible with strict biosecurity measures in place.

“Nothing has changed for us in terms of our planning,” Tiley told AAP.

“The environment around us has changed, and will continue to change, as we’ve seen with the current spike in Victoria.

“So I’m confident we will run the Australian Open in Melbourne and other events around Australia in January and we’re working closely with all our authorities on the regulations regarding mass gatherings, physical distancing and increased hygiene that are being put in place.”

Melbourne Park the only option in Australia

A wide angle view looking down at the stands and showcourt at Rod Laver Arena with the Melbourne skyline in the distance.
The Australian Open will take place in Melbourne in 2021, says Craig Tiley.(Reuters: Hannah McKay)

The reality is, Melbourne Park and its 2km precinct — housing not only state-of-the-art tennis facilities but also a plethora of bars and entertainment hubs — is the only location in Australia equipped to stage a grand slam event.

A total of 33 courts are used during the tournament, including three with retractable roofs, with an additional 18 available at nearby venues.

World tennis’s biggest names and their entourages enjoy a four-storey player pod with gyms, medical and treatment rooms, ice baths, warm-up facilities, change rooms, a beauty bar, concierge and transport reception.

“All this will be in one self-contained area, which will be crucial in COVID times,” Tiley said.

As well as Rod Laver Arena, with a capacity for 15,000 spectators, the National Tennis Centre has four other show courts seating between 3,000 and 11,500 fans.

Sydney, meanwhile, has nine match courts, with one roof still being completed on Ken Rosewall Arena, plus six practice courts, smaller change rooms and dining facilities.

Pat Rafter Arena, which has 5,500 seats but only a floating roof, is one of 23 ITF-standard courts in Brisbane.

A general shot of a blue tennis court surrounded by stadium full of people
Pat Rafter Arena in Brisbane holds just 5,500 spectators.(AAP: Darren England)

The venue’s capacity is for around 10,000 fans, nowhere near the numbers that can be accommodated in Melbourne, which boasts a record daily attendance of 93,709.

So the biggest event on the annual Australian sporting calendar will only go ahead in January in Melbourne, Tiley said.

“The US Open and the French Open are exploring mandatory testing, varying levels of quarantine and limiting entourages,” he said.

“Of course we are looking at all these options, and more, as part of our scenario planning.

“It’s difficult to predict exactly what will need to be in place as guidelines and protocols are changing week by week, and sometimes even day by day.”

A male tennis player puts a finger to his mouth as he looks to the sky at the Australian Open.
Reigning men’s champion Novak Djokovic has fielded criticism during the coronavirus crisis.(AP: Dita Alangkara)

The risk of playing tournaments during coronavirus has been exposed when multiple players and coaches were infected during the Adria Cup tournament in the Balkans, organised by men’s world number one, Novak Djokovic.

Nick Kyrgios lead the condemnation of Djokovic’s tournament, describing the behaviour of players involved as “boneheaded” before later firing up at Alex Zverev after he was filmed in breach of isolation restrictions, despite being a close contact of those players who did contract the virus.

Grand slam tennis is set to resume in late August with the US Open, although some of the world’s leading players have expressed concerns at playing during the pandemic.

AAP/ABC



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Melbourne coronavirus outbreak could ‘recast’ Australian virus success story


Local lockdowns and the threat of a second wave of coronavirus in Melbourne have not escaped global attention, with a number of media outlets reporting on the city as one of a host of those experiencing a potential second peak of the virus.

The New York Times reported from the ground in Melbourne and described doorknocking efforts to get residents tested as “authorities race to catch up with a string of outbreaks that is threatening to recast Australia’s success story in controlling the spread.”

It quoted Monash University director of the Migration and Inclusion Centre, Professor Rebecca Wickes, as saying immigrant communities should not be blamed but rather “global citizens, coming back from their cruises and their ski trips to Aspen.”

“We seem to have forgotten the history of how this virus took hold in Australia,” she said.

MORE: Follow live coronavirus Australia updates here

MORE: Next Victorian suburbs to go into lockdown

Despite Europe deciding to allow Australian residents into the bloc from July 1 and the UK set to do the same without quarantine requirements, news of the Victorian outbreak has made headlines in the UK.

Britain’s Independent reported 300,000 would return to local lockdown conditions.

“The spike in cases has been linked to staff members at hotels where travellers who returned to Australia were being quarantined, indicating breaches of quarantine protocols,” it said.

The UK Daily Telegraph also warned the winter surge could be a preview of what the northern hemisphere will face in the coming months

“Australia had been considered to have managed the pandemic well, so far recording a total of around 8,000 cases and 100 deaths in a country with a population of 25 million. Cases peaked by the end of March with the state of New South Wales hardest hit,” the paper reported.

“The state of Victoria went from nine cumulative cases on March 1 to 1,018 cases on April 1. Spread of the virus slowed considerably for some time, then over the past month the cumulative case tally went from 1,670 to 2,380.”

“And as Australia – and the rest of the southern hemisphere – enters winter this has prompted concerns that the virus, which most experts believe is more likely to thrive in the cold, is having a resurgence.”

It said the low number of cases in the Australian first wave may have contributed to a rise now. Griffith University Queensand Professor Hamish McCallum said the city was clearly in the grip of a second wave.

“The question is whether it is a ripple or the start of a tsunami. Certainly, the rise in daily reported cases looks qualitatively very similar to the initial wave in March. However, this does need to be viewed in terms of the increased testing and relaxation of the criteria for testing,” he said.

MORE: Virus cases pass point of no return

The UK tabloid Express said “panic grips Australia over second wave as 300,000 shelter after spike.”

“Australia has fared better than many countries in the pandemic, with around 7,920 cases, 104 deaths and fewer than 400 active cases. But the recent jump has stoked fears of a second wave of COVID-19, echoing concerns expressed in other countries,” it reported.

Australia has recorded more than 8000 cases of coronavirus so far which is still low compared to others around the world.

On Wednesday, the US recorded more than 52,000 new COVID-19 cases in 24 hours, a new one-day record as infections soared.

Overall more than 10.7 million coronavirus infections have been recorded around the world with more than 517,000 deaths.

Many countries initially seen as successfully having fought off the virus, such as Germany, Japan, Singapore and South Korea, have seen a resurgence in local hot spots in recent weeks as lockdown restrictions ease.



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Australian Opals lead new RISE UP campaign with Basketball Australia to support Black Lives Matter movement



Basketball Australia (BA) and the women’s national team, the Opals, have launched a campaign to target racism and discrimination.

The RISE UP campaign stands for Respect, Injustice, Standards, Equality, Unity, Peace, with BA and the Opals asking Australians to take action to help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and people of colour.

Last month the Opals announced they would not train until BA agreed to commit to eliminating racial injustice within the sport.

BA said it was committed to using its platform to be a vehicle for change on racial equality.

Opals star Liz Cambage said it was a proud moment for her and the sport.

“It’s the people around me now who are supporting me and people of colour to help change the world we live in and I’m very proud and emotional when it comes to this,” she said.

Cambage has spoken of her own encounters with racism in Australia, saying she had never felt at home growing up.

BA answered the Opals’ call with the announcement of RISE UP, with Cambage present at the launch in Melbourne on Wednesday.

RISE UP is an acronym for the team’s values: Respect, Injustice, Standards, Equality, Unity, Peace.

Opals captain Jenna O’Hea said her team wanted to help drive change within the community.

“The Australian Opals’ playing group are asking all Australians to RISE UP and stand with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and people of colour to make a change,” she said.

“Racism, discrimination and injustice experienced by black communities is not an American problem, it is a worldwide issue, including here in Australia.

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“It is important that everyone learns and educates themselves on these matters because learning about racism is much easier than living and experiencing it on a daily basis.

“The Australian Opals are asking everyone to embrace our RISE UP team values of Respect, Injustice, Standards, Equality, Unity and Peace as we work together to eradicate racism, discrimination, and injustice both here at home and abroad.”

BA chief executive Jerril Rechter said basketball wanted to help build a more tolerant society.

“The extremely important Black Lives Matter movement has made it abundantly clear that as a global community we must work harder to bring an end to racism, discrimination and injustice,” he said.

“Basketball Australia is committed to using our position and platform to engage, listen, speak out, and be a vehicle for change on racial equality.

“We are extremely proud of the Australian Opals in wanting to come together and lend their voice and influence to not only support Black Lives Matters but drive positive change through their RISE UP campaign.”

The RISE UP initiative will be rolled out by BA over the coming months, starting with a social and digital media campaign.

ABC/AAP



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