Australia’s gay rugby clubs have struck a formal alliance with Rugby Australia to help get more LGBTIQ players and fans to take part in the game.
The Brisbane Hustlers hosted the Purchas Cup at Ballymore last weekend. The Sydney Convicts took home both the Purchas Cup and the Shield at the grand final on Sunday.
At the grand final, Rugby Australia deputy chairman Brett Robinson signed the landmark Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the four clubs – the Hustlers, the Convicts, the Melbourne Chargers and the Perth Rams.
The alliance will create a new Inclusive Rugby Committee. It will be made up of RA, the four clubs, and UK-based organisation International Gay Rugby.
The committee’s goal will be to grow the participation rate of people playing Rugby in the LGBTIQ community. It will also seek to educate about the impact of homophobia on the safety and wellbeing of LGBTIQ participants.
“We want rugby to be a game that all Australians can enjoy regardless of their age, race, background, religion, gender or sexual orientation,” RA chief executive Raelene Castle said.
“This formal alliance between Rugby Australia and the clubs is a key step forward in fostering and maintaining a rugby environment that is safe, welcoming and enjoyable for all members of the LGBTIQA community.”
Plans to bring Bingham Cup back to Australia
Rugby Australia will also work with the clubs and IGR to bring the Bingham Cup back to Australia.
The Bingham Cup is the biennial gay rugby world championships. Australia hosted the Cup for the first time in 2014, in Sydney.
The Brisbane Hustlers plan to bid to bring the Bingham Cup to Ballymore in 2022, after next year’s event in Canada.
The new rugby committee comes after a tumultuous year for the code. Rugby Australia sacked star player Israel Folau for his infamous Instagram post.
Folau is appealing the decision and is currently suing Rugby Australia for $AU10 million.
The case will go to court in February should further mediation fail in December.
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