Football codes urged to adopt anti-homophobia policies before Bingham Cup
With gay rugby tournament, the Bingham Cup, landing in Sydney in 2014, the president of the organising committee and founder of the Sydney Convicts Rugby Club, Andrew Purchas, has called for amateur and pro clubs to stamp out homophobia.
Purchas believes it's crucial to eliminate homophobia in all forms of sport and hopes the major sporting codes will adopt a policy of inclusion on and off the playing field.
“Homophobia in sport is still common, and it particularly harms young people,” Purchas said.
“Thankfully this issue is now starting to get the attention it needs with major leagues around the world starting to adopt anti-homophobia policies.
"All the major football codes, and all sporting organisations in Australia have an opportunity to make a very meaningful change and create a sporting culture that is accepting and inclusive.
"Strong leadership is needed so players feel accepted and free to come out of the closet, regardless of the level of play."
Purchas thinks by hosting the Bingham Cup, the stereotypes of LGBT people will be challenged.
“Having the 7th Bingham Cup in Australia will challenge and change stereotypes about gay men.
"However, we want to go further by starting a national discussion and debate. When rugby players arrive from around the world next year, we want Australians to be able to proudly say that we have taken major steps as a country to ensure everyone gets a fair go in Australian sport.”
In keeping with this challenge, Australian Rugby Union has announced it will become the first code to create an anti-homophobia, ‘inclusion’ policy and is challenging all other major sporting codes to do the same so everyone is given a fair go in sport.
Sporting heroes and political and corporate leaders are challenging the other Australian professional football codes to enact anti-homophobia policies before the Bingham Cup kicks off in August 2014.
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said in a letter of support: “It is through inspirational events like the Bingham Cup that we can address discrimination in sport, change attitudes and strive to create an inclusive playing field where anybody, irrespective of their sexuality, can participate and pursue their passion without threat of vilification.”
Speaking for the Coalition, Liberal MP Malcolm Turnbull said: “A formal commitment to stamping out any remaining homophobia in Rugby (or any other any code) sends a powerful message to our next generation of players that we are all equal in a free and fair society. The Coalition congratulates the leadership provided by the AustralianRugby Union and the organisers of the Bingham Cup in celebrating diversity and standing up against discrimination against gays and lesbians.”
Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore added her voice to the chorus: “There should be no place for homophobia in our society – by hosting the Bingham Cup, I hope we can help change attitudes on and off the sporting field. This important event will boost our local economy and show Sydney at its best. The City of Sydney is sponsoring the 2014 Bingham Cup and I encourage other organisations to step forward and lend their support. I look forward to welcoming the Bingham Cup players, coaches and supporters to our beautiful city.”
Bingham Cup organisers and supporters are starting the one-year challenge to all the major football codes in Sydney on August 28.
The organisers also used the launch as a platform to deliver the first ever international survey of gays and lesbians in sport, looking at the prevalence and effect of homophobia in sport.
A resource portal will also be created on the Bingham Cup 2014 website linking to resources for coaches and sporting team management to help them deal with and reduce homophobia in their organisations.
The Bingham Cup wil yake place from August 27-31, 2014. Teams from 17 countries are expected to converge on Sydney for the games.
More info: binghamcup.com