New Zealand’s leading sporting organizations are on a mission to stamp out racism and homophobia in their respective sports.
New Zealand Rugby, New Zealand Football, New Zealand Cricket and New Zealand Rugby League joined forces to make the announcement at an event promoting diversity and inclusion in sport.
Steve Tew, New Zealand Rugby’s chief executive, spoke at the event and expressed his belief that the country is ready for a gay player to represent the country’s national rugby team the All Blacks.
“No one has yet said they’re an All Black and gay, one day that will happen,” he said.
“I would hope New Zealand is more than ready, in fact is welcoming of it.”
The sporting codes announced at the event that they’re working on elaborate diversity program set to be established by the end of 2016.
Officials said the program’s design will be based on the findings of the 2015 Out On The Fields study, the first global study of homophobia in sport that found 88 percent of New Zealand’s sportsmen and 76 percent of New Zealand’s sportswomen hid their sexual orientation from their teammates.
“This is not about creating a single policy aimed at one particular area of inclusion, but teaming up with other sports to get the message across that everyone should be encouraged and be able to participate and enjoy sport without prejudice and in welcoming environments,” Steve Tew said.
Toni Duder, from the LGBT support group Rainbow Youth, praised the decision and said he hopes the upcoming program will end bullying in sports teams and institutions.
“I think we need to almost change our national view of what sporting is and what the ideal sportsperson is,’’ he told Radio NZ.
“We do have a long way to go but hey, small steps, positive steps.”