Optus Sport launches latest instalment of Football Belongs series

Optus Sport has announced the release in its latest Football Belongs series – a string of feature articles and podcasts titled ‘Nine football matches that explain Australia’.

The football-focussed subscription sports platform – which recently announced its active subscriber base had grown to just shy of 868,000 – will chart the cultural threads of Australian society through the lense of nine key matches.

Football Belongs was first launched by Optus Sport earlier this year, telling stories of Europe’s contribution to Australia football and society.

The content sits on the platform alongside its premium product; games from the English Premier League, UEFA tournaments, the J-League, the K-League and more.

The articles for series have been written by former National Soccer League player John Didulica, with an accompanying podcast hosted by David Davutovic.

Didulica was also previously the chief executive of Professional Footballers Australia until earlier this year.

“I always believed that football’s journey and the trajectory of Australia’s success as a modern nation were interdependent; that building and embracing an authentic football culture went hand in hand with our nation emerging with the humble self-assuredness it would need,” he said.

“In examining Australia – as I saw it – it’s incredible how influential football has been to both shaping modern Australia but also reflecting the nation that we are. Equally, I was challenged by football’s absence from the stories that are used to define what it means to be Australian.”

The accompanying podcasts feature renowned football media personalities Andy Harper and Tracey Holmes, as well as a lineup of guests including Socceroos legends Ray Baartz and John Aloisi, as well as renowned historians and academics.

Optus director of sport Richard Bayliss said the series will contain some of the best writing on the game in Australia.

The football community in Australia will only have confidence in a successful and unified path forward – and its own skin – once it can draw inspiration from its own unique place within the nation’s identity,” he said

“John’s ability to explain the broader cultural context – at times painful, at others uplifting – illuminates the game’s landmark moments in a stirring way.

“These chapters contain some of the best writing on the game in Australia I’ve ever read, and the calibre of discussion led by David throughout the podcasts provides a gripping listen.”


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