Australian Rugby Union CEO Bill Pulver today confirmed Australian Rugby will strengthen its commitment and resolve to eliminate discrimination in the sport by implementing an Inclusion Policy by August this year.
Mr Pulver will join the leaders of the Australian Football League, National Rugby League, Football Federation Australia and Cricket Australia to sign a collective commitment to eliminate discrimination and homophobia in each of their respective sports.
Mr Pulver said he was particularly pleased to see other sporting codes join in the commitment made by Australian Rugby in August last year to develop policies that commit to tackling all forms of discrimination.
“The ARU was one of the first sports to commit to developing an Inclusion Policy.”
“Our new Inclusion Policy will be an extension of existing policies and will aim to ensure that Australian Rugby continues to be an environment where everyone involved is treated with respect and dignity.
“This is about reiterating our game’s strong values and creating a diverse and inclusive Australian Rugby community.
“Every individual, whether they’re players, supporters, coaches or administrators should feel safe, welcome and included, regardless of race, gender or sexuality.
“I congratulate the organisers of Bingham Cup Sydney 2014 for challenging Australia’s sporting codes – including Rugby – to tackle homophobia in the lead up to The Bingham Cup in August this year.
“On behalf of Australian Rugby, we’re delighted to support this worthwhile initiative.”
This is the first time in the world that all the major professional sports in a country will collectively commit to tackling discrimination based on sexual orientation through the implementation of inclusion policies.
The five sports involved will agree to implement policies and changes consistent with a newly-created Anti-Homophobia and Inclusion Framework by the end of August 2014, when thousands of international gay Rugby players, fans and media will arrive in Australia for the Bingham Cup, the world cup of gay Rugby.
Bingham Cup Sydney 2014 President Andrew Purchas thanked Australian Rugby for its leadership in committing to implement an Inclusion Policy last year.
“The ARU’s immediate and absolute support for this initiative has been critical to its widespread adoption.”
“Australian Rugby has demonstrated strong and enduring support for the Bingham Cup, the Sydney Convicts Rugby club and the other gay Rugby teams around Australia.”
Wallabies legend John Eales is also supporting the initiative.
“I feel we have reached a turning point in our efforts to change sporting culture so that sexuality is no longer an issue. It’s important to focus entirely on a person’s ability to play a sport and not get caught up in old fashioned, clearly incorrect stereotypes and assumptions about people.”