June 30, 2023
On Saturday 24 June 2023, a group of 16 business, community, sporting, and academic organisations, including the Haymarket Chamber of Commerce, working under the banner of Duanwu Sports Diplomacy Forum led by Richard Colless AM, Chairman of MA Financial Group Asset Management and as Chair of the Forum, organised the first ever China-themed AFL match between the Sydney Swans and the West Coast Eagles at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG).
Prior to the game, a luncheon in the SCG’s Steve Waugh Room brought together leaders from government and business as well as community groups to celebrate the match and the importance of sport in strengthening the relationship between Australia and China.
The special guests of honour at the forum luncheon and AFL match were His Excellency Xiao Qian, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China, and Consul General Zhou Limin. The Commonwealth Government was represented by the Hon. Chris Bowen MP, Minister for Climate Change and Energy, and representatives of the NSW Government were led by the Premier, the Hon. Chris Minns MP. The Haymarket Chamber of Commerce was represented at the luncheon by Vincent Lim, Simon Chan AM, Brad Chan and San Koh. Many of our members also joined us for the Swans v West Coast Eagles match with one of Australia’s best-known dragon and lion dance troupes, the Jin Wu Koon Dragon and Lion Dance Association, performing immediately prior to kick-off.
A day earlier, on 23 June, the AFL and National Foundation for Australia-China Relations (NFACR) launched a new book by author Patrick Skene, Celestial Footy, at the Swans’ new headquarters at Moore Park, which book examines the unique and little-known history of Chinese involvement in the AFL dating back to the 1800’s.