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Australian Rugby Union has announced its commitment to develop an Inclusion Policy, aimed at stamping out discrimination and homophobia, to coincide with the launch of the 2014 Bingham Cup, known as the "gay Rugby World Cup."
The policy will act as an extension to the ARU’s existing Member Protection Policy and continues the organisation’s commitment to eliminate discrimination in Rugby across Australia.
ARU CEO, Bill Pulver, said the policy aims to ensure Australian Rugby continues to be a place where everyone involved feels safe, welcome and included regardless of race, gender or sexuality.
“Developing this Inclusion Policy is important as it demonstrates that Rugby is a game where you feel included and accepted, no matter who you are.
“Australian Rugby is making progress to support social justice and diversity. We want to ensure everyone involved in the game is treated with respect and dignity.
“Earlier this year we created a Reconciliation Action Plan in close consultation with The Lloyd McDermott Rugby Development Team (LMRDT) and Reconciliation Australia to ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people feel supported and respected in the Australian Rugby environment.
“We will prepare the new Inclusion Policy in a similar manner, working with the gay Rugby community and Federal and State Government agencies, including the Australian Sports Commission and Australian Human Rights Commission, to further reinforce Rugby’s intolerance to discrimination and homophobia.
“This is about reiterating the game’s strong values and creating a diverse and inclusive Australian Rugby community,” Mr Pulver said.
Bingham Cup 2014 President, Andrew Purchas congratulated Australian Rugby for taking the initiative to provide leadership by committing to implement an Inclusion Policy to help stamp out homophobia.
“Unfortunately homophobia in sport is far too common. Homophobic attitudes and discrimination are the reason many people from the GLBTI community drop out of sport at an early age.
“Fortunately the Sydney Convicts Rugby Club, Australia’s first gay inclusive Rugby Club, has been very fortunate to receive significant support from Australian Rugby over the past 10 years.
“Bingham Cup 2014 will give Sydney the chance to witness the passion with which gay communities from around the world have taken to the Rugby pitch. It might also dispel a few myths along the way by showing Australia that gay men can and do play tough contact
sports like Rugby,” Mr Purchas said.
The Bingham Cup has received support from a variety of sporting, corporate and political leaders including Wallaby legends, John Eales and Nick Farr-Jones.
The tournament will involve up to 40 teams and 2,000 players and support staff are expected to visit Sydney for the event.
(MAIN PHOTO: Players from Sydney Convicts Rugby Club, Photo by Ben Rushton, Sydney Morning Herald)