Prime Minister backs Convicts to host gay rugby world cup
With plenty of talk in recent days about homophobia on the football pitch, the Sydney Convicts gay and inclusive rugby club have received an official endorsement from Prime Minister Julia Gillard for Sydney to hold the next Bingham Cup in 2014.
After tasting victory at the most recently held Bingham Cup in Manchester, England in June the Convicts have now made an official bid to host the tournament widely known as the gay rugby world cup.
As part of the bid, a video has been created to show off the support the Convicts have from high-profile Australians including the Prime Minister.
“It gives me great pleasure to support the Sydney Convicts’ bid to host the seventh Bingham Cup rugby tournament in Sydney in 2014,” Gillard says in the video.
“Australia is a sports-loving nation which also has an abiding commitment to diversity and mutual respect. The vibrant city of Sydney is the perfect location for the Bingham Cup. And the Sydney Convicts, Australia’s first gay rugby union club, are the perfect hosts.
“In recent years, Sydney has hosted the Olympics, and gay games and the Rugby World Cup with a remarkable spirit of openness and celebration. I know that Bingham Cup participants would receive the same warm and generous welcome.”
The Convicts bid to host the next Bingham Cup has already received support from the likes of NSW Governor Marie Bashir, Lord Mayor Clover Moore, Olympic gold medallist Matthew Mitcham as well as rugby legends John Eales, Phil Kearns, Brendan Cannon, Mark Ella, Nick Farr-Jones and Peter Fitzsimons.
The Wallabies and captain David Pocock, a big supporter of marriage equality, are also behind the bid.
Sydney Convicts Founder and Chairman of the Bingham Cup 2014 Bid Committee, Andrew Purchas, said the support received so far was overwhelming and very encouraging.
“It is very clear that homophobia is quite rampant in the footy codes and many of the Convicts players would not be playing rugby if it was not for the Convicts.
“We have to work hard at making sure everybody understands terms like ‘gay’ and ‘homo’, when used derogatorily, have a significant impact,” he said.
“If the Bingham Cup is played in Sydney it will hopefully demonstrate to a wider audience that gays can play rugby and shine a light on this issue.”
If the bid is successful, the tournament is likely to attract up to 1,200 gay rugby players and will take place in late August 2014 at and around the Woollahra playing fields in Sydney’s east.
The Convicts will be in action this weekend in what is one of the most important matches the club has been involved in as their A side battle it out in the Nicholson Cup grand final on Saturday morning at Macquarie University.