AFL backs 'yes' vote for Indigenous voice referendum
The AFL has announced it will back a 'yes' vote in the Indigenous voice referendum.
The organisation has aligned with clubs including Geelong, Richmond, Essendon, Collingwood and West Coast in publicly supporting the voice to parliament proposal.
Outgoing AFL boss Gillon McLachlan helped launch this year's Indigenous round in Melbourne on Tuesday, and the league's commission met to talk about its position on the voice on Wednesday.
The league made a statement via social media on Thursday morning.
The AFL said it had taken a 'yes' stance after many discussions and consultation with clubs, staff, players and its own Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander advisory council.
"Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander players have long made a stellar contribution on the footy field," the statement said.
"Their off-field contributions are equally valued for the impact they have made on our game and our community.
"While we encourage everyone to seek the information they need to form their own views on the referendum, the AFL proudly supports the recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the Australian Constitution through the voice to parliament."
Speaking at the launch of the annual Dreamtime at the 'G match, Indigenous players Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti and Marlion Pickett were pleased by the AFL's stance.
"It will be great to see the result at the end, but it's great to see everyone showing their support for it," Essendon forward McDonald-Tipungwuti said.
Richmond star Pickett added: "It's good for Indigenous voices to be heard."
The AFL has followed the lead of the NRL, Football Australia, the Australian Olympic Committee and Tennis Australia, while Rugby Australia (RA) also confirmed its support overnight.
RA ran a full-page newspaper advertisement telling supporters that it is time for a "level playing field" for First Nations people.
Commonwealth Games Australia also announced on Thursday it supports the 'yes' campaign.
The move by the AFL and RA was applauded by Prime Minster Anthony Albanese and the Uluru Dialogue, a collection of First Nations leaders who are behind the Uluru Statement.
"Great to see the @AFL and @RugbyAU come out in support of a Voice to Parliament. They're joining @FootballAus and the @NRL. Recognising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in our Constitution will be a unifying moment for our nation," the Prime Minister tweeted.