BRISBANE will play host to Australia’s largest ever multicultural football tournament this month, with Mercy Family Services-Romero Centre, LUCRF Community Partnership Trust and Police Citizen’s Youth Club (PCYC) teaming up to launch the 2012 Community Shield.

LUCRF Super’s Community Partnership Trust provides assistance to community projects which help to build skills and knowledge.

The 2012 Community Shield also has the support of Professional Footballers Australia (PFA), who have enlisted local A-League players Matt Smith and Shane Stefanutto to help identify young sporting talent and allocate financial bursaries to five gifted players. The bursaries will fund the players’ registration at a Brisbane football club for the 2013 season.

“LUCRF Super has long been a proud supporter and major partner of the PFA, and we’re delighted to be working with them on the 2012 Community Shield.  This initiative reinforces LUCRF’s commitment to football and its ability to connect with and support local communities”, said PFA Player Services Executive Daniel Kowalski.

Formerly the QPS World Cup, the 2012 tournament is certain to be the largest yet, with an anticipated 50 teams participating in the annual event, to be staged at Moreton Bay Sports Club, Tingalpa.

“The 2012 Community Shield will bring together up to 500 culturally diverse participants from across Queensland, representing nations from Sierra Leone to Serbia and San Marino,” said Mercy Family Services Multicultural Program Manager Faiza El-Higzi.

The football matches will take place across five days throughout September and October, wrapping up with finals games on 28 October, coinciding with a cultural festival featuring international food and performances.

Prize money and trophies will be allocated to the top three teams on finals day.

“Engaging young people from different backgrounds in fun and meaningful activities, is an excellent chance for us to promote cultural unity in Brisbane,” said Ms El-Higzi.

PFA Executive Shane Stefanutto and PFA Delegate Matt Smith, both of Brisbane Roar, will be on hand on finals day to present the 2012 Community Shield to the winning team and the ‘PFA Players’ Player Award’ to the most outstanding player on behalf of PFA.

‘The Community World Cup has become a well-known and highly regarded initiative in the community and one that I’m proud to be directly involved with this year’, said Stefanutto.

PFA President Simon Colosimo expressed the PFA’s delight in supporting the event, “Football is the ‘world game’ and as such it is an ideal forum to deliver messages that promote positive themes around cultural diversity. Football’s growing appeal plays an important role in society and we applaud the 2012 Community Shield initiative and all those involved in organising and participating in the festivities”.

“With the strong support of our community partners, the Queensland Police and the PCYC, the tournament provides us with a unique opportunity to foster relationships between local youth and law enforcement agencies”, added Ms El-Higzi.