Convicts urge Sydney to embrace Bingham Cup
The LGBTI community and the entire city are being urged to get behind Australia’s first gay rugby club, the Sydney Convicts, as they now prepare to play host to the Bingham Cup – dubbed the gay rugby world cup – in two years time.
After having their official bid for the 2014 hosting rights endorsed by the likes of Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Liberal MP Malcolm Turnbull and rugby greats John Eales and Nick Farr-Jones, the Convicts were considered to be frontrunners to host the biennial tournament which they won earlier this year when it was held in Manchester, England.
“The strong endorsement of the Australian Prime Minister, Members of Parliament, State Ministers and the Governor of NSW highlights Australia’s willingness to tackle homophobia on the pitch, which remains one of the last places that discrimination is still common,” International Gay Rugby Association Board chair Jeff Wilson said in London.
Eales, the former Wallabies captain, said the tournament superseded sport.
“In many respects the Bingham Cup is more than just a rugby tournament,” Eales said. “It is an important demonstration of mutual respect and diversity.”
Turnbull said the successful bid was a great result for Sydney as well as the Convicts.
“This will be one of the biggest events for the City and Eastern Suburbs since we hosted the beach volleyball in the 2000 Olympics,” he said.
The prestigious trophy is named after gay US rugby union stalwart Mark Bingham, who lost his life in the September 11 attacks in 2011 attempting to overpower hijackers of United Airlines 93.
It is expected the tournament to be played at Woollahra Oval and featuring 45 teams will have a direct economic impact of about $4 million for the local economy.
Sydney Convicts Founder and Chairman of the Bingham Cup 2014 Bid Committee, Andrew Purchas, told SX he was thrilled with the prospect of the community really getting behind the tournament as well as major corporate backing.
“The level of support shown by both the gay and rugby communities for Sydney’s Bingham Cup bid has been sincerely humbling. We are hopeful that corporate Australia will get behind this event with the same enthusiasm,” he said.
“We particularly want either or both Qantas and Virgin to come on board and become a primary tournament partner.”
The Brisbane Hustlers and the Melbourne Chargers gay rugby clubs will also take part and help with organisation of the tournament.