FIDA started playing matches in 1991 following two clinics run by the Hawthorn Football Club and the Hawthorn City Council (Boroondara). After several years of significant support from the Victorian Amateur Football Association, FIDA employed a General Manager in 2009 and the program developed rapidly. With approximately 600 players by the end of the 2015 season the running of the competition and the employment of the General Manager was taken over by AFL Victoria.
Following a difficult year in 2020 with no participation due to COVID-19 and then a shortened 2021 season, it was decided that FIDA would again run the program as an affiliate of AFL Victoria. FIDA has worked closely with AFL inclusion staff to ensure the players have stayed connected with the hope that all will return to normal in 2021.
There are now 28 clubs and approximately 800 players.
Statement of Purpose
The Football Integration Development Association Incorporated – F. I. D. A. Inc. is a non-profit organisation whose purposes are to:-
1. Initiate access for persons with an intellectual disability to the game of Australian Rules Football.
2. Develop, manage and promote a football competition relevant to the skill level of persons with an intellectual disability
3. Create necessary skills and confidence in the participants so that integration processes can develop.
4. Encourage existing generic community groups to include persons with an intellectual disability into their clubs.
5. Promote integration to sport providers to encourage a receptive environment which will accommodate the needs of people with intellectual disability.
6. Liaise and co-operate with all organisations that have comparable objectives.
7. Consult with the AFL and relevant councils, individuals and organisations for people with disabilities regarding the competition’s progress.