International Rugby Board officially backs Bingham Cup
History was made at the Bingham Cup tournament in Sydney on Friday with the International Rugby Board becoming the first international sporting federation to publicly endorse a gay sporting.
The IRB’s board provided its support to the International Gay Rugby Association and Board, and the event it oversees, the Bingham Cup.
“Rugby recognises sport’s wider responsibility to society and its ability to drive social change,” said IRB CEO Brett Gosper.
“Sport can cross barriers, sport boosts self-esteem and sport promotes inclusivity and celebrates diversity.
“The Bingham Cup is a symbol of the power of sport to drive social change. It has opened hearts and minds and will continue to inspire future generations to participate, to express themselves and to have fun.”
GALLERY: Check out the Bingham Cup Opening Ceremony in Sydney. View the full gallery here
Bingham Cup organisers have made driving social change a major focus of the 2014 tournament, leading a number of historic initiatives to help tackle homophobia in sports. This included commissioning the first international study on homophobia in sport as well as working with the Australian Rugby Union to tackle discrimination.
The ARU was the first major Australian sport to commit to implement policies in alignment with the anti-homophobia and inclusion framework, which it did last year and then followed-through with implementation last week. Other sports followed the lead of the ARU, making similar commitments in April of this year.
ARU President Bill Pulver said the policy will be implemented in the coming months.
“We want Australian Rugby to be an environment where everyone is treated with respect and dignity, reflecting our desire to create a truly diverse and inclusive Australian rugby community,” Pulver said.
GALLERY: Check out the rugby teams at the Sydney Opera House. View the full gallery here
“There is absolutely no place for homophobia or any form of discrimination in our game and our actions and words, both on and off the field, must reflect this.
“I am confident our Inclusion Policy signals our clear stance on discrimination. It will ensure everyone in rugby understands our position on inclusion and will help us tackle homophobia in all aspects of our sport.
“Congratulations to the 2014 Bingham Cup Committee which has done a remarkable job in creating real change.”
Bingham Cup Ambassador and rugby legend John Eales commended the momentum to make sport more inclusive but said more needs to be done.
GALLERY: Check out the rugby teams training with the Waratahs. View the full gallery here
“We should commend and celebrate the support around the world to address homophobia and discrimination in sport,” Eales said. “There is still a great deal of work to do, but I’m hopefully we’ll soon see a time when athletes at all levels feel comfortable being open about their sexuality and playing the sports they love without fear of discrimination.”
Fellow rugby great Nick Farr-Jones expressed his pride over how “rugby is taking a leadership role in tackling homophobia and other forms of discrimination”.
“I hope this encourages the other major international sports to take similar steps,” Farr-Jones, who is also chairman of NSW Rugby, said.
Top image: Sydney Convicts at the Sydney Opera House. Photo: Cec Busby
For full Bingham Cup competition results, go to the Bingham Cup website here