An historic agreement between World Rugby and International Gay Rugby (IGR) has been signed at World Rugby House in Dublin this week to collaborate on the continued promotion of equality and inclusivity in rugby.
The agreement is designed to eliminate homophobia in Rugby and outlines a commitment between the two organisations to continue to work together in order to achieve this important goal.
Under the terms of the Memorandum of Understanding, World Rugby and IGR recognise and respect:
- the right of any player, official and spectator to be involved with rugby without discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation or identification
- the common goal of inclusion and the elimination of homophobia in rugby
World Rugby and IGR will consult on issues of importance to members of the LGBT community and the game of rugby by:
- developing a positive and mutually beneficial relationship based on a sense of shared purpose
- working with regional associations and member unions to improve tolerance and acceptance of LGBT players at all levels within rugby union
- providing educational tools to World Rugby member unions to support in the elimination of homophobia in rugby
- supporting the promotion and development of IGR’s events
Chairman of IGR Jeff Wilson said this is a momentous occasion for LGBT athletes, supporters, officials and administrators and the people who support them in the game of rugby.
“World Rugby is a trail-blazer as a global governing body in committing to actively eliminate homophobia from any sport,” said Wilson.
“We are committed to partnering with World Rugby to continue our work of making rugby the most inclusive and tolerant sport in the world.”
“The bold step by World Rugby to commit to these shared purposes with IGR reflects the character-building values that are important to us all in the sport.
“Hopefully, other sporting governing bodies can look to World Rugby as a role model and follow suit.”
From a local perspective, New Zealand Falcons IGR delegate Dean Knight is delighted that World Rugby and the IGR had formally recognised the place of gay and inclusive rugby within the broader rugby family.
“The memorandum of understanding, promoting equality and inclusivity in rugby, as well as recognizing and supporting IGR’s mission and events, is historic and signals a strong message that World Rugby is serious about its commitment to rugby as ‘a game for all,” Knight said.
“The NZ Falcons look forward to ensuring that those goals are also realised in New Zealand and at the grassroots level.
“There’s still much work to be done. But we will continue our conversations and work with New Zealand Rugby Union to ensure these issues are addressed here, in ways that are specifically tailored to the New Zealand environment and experience.
“The Purchas Cup, Australasia’s quadrangle tournament for gay and inclusive rugby teams, will by hosted by the NZ Falcons in Auckland in early September.
“As well as showcasing the strength of gay rugby in Australia and New Zealand, the event will also be an opportunity to focus attention on issues of inclusivity and anti-homophobia in rugby.”
The New Zealand Falcons are proudly supported by ASB who have also been awarded the “Rainbow Tick” which is awarded to organisations that complete a Diversity & Inclusion certification process.
Last Updated on Mar 6, 2015