As part of World Rugby’s ongoing commitment to the promotion of inclusivity, representatives from the governing body have met leaders of International Gay Rugby (IGR) in Dublin to progress strategies to keep homophobia and intolerance out of the game.
In 2015, World Rugby and IGR signed an agreement that has helped to cement the continued promotion of equality and inclusivity in rugby. Chairman of IGR Andrew Purchas and former Chairman Jeff Wilson were invited to World Rugby House for a status update and to look at a strategy for how IGR can support and benefit from a wider ‘rugby for all’ campaign.
During the meeting, World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont met Purchas and Wilson (pictured above) to stress his ongoing support for what he sees as an important alliance for rugby as it seeks to live up to its stated values of integrity, respect, discipline, passion and solidarity.
Beaumont said: “We are proud of our partnership with International Gay Rugby to promote inclusivity, equality and friendship as rugby continues to reach out, engage and inspire. It’s important to us that rugby remains a sport for all, that it embraces diversity, celebrates difference and shuns intolerance. It was great to be able to welcome our friends from IGR to World Rugby House to plan for that campaign.
Purchas said: “Jeff and I had the pleasure of meeting with officials of World Rugby to help develop the ‘rugby for all’ campaign which focuses on, among other things, ensuring that rugby is inclusive and accessible to all, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity.
“World Rugby is committed to being a leading international sporting body in the promotion of rugby to underrepresented groups. Over the past 12 months, IGR has grown by more than 35 per cent, largely as a result of World Rugby and its member unions’ promotion of gay and inclusive rugby. We were also honoured to meet Bill, who committed his support for IGR and our objectives.”
Under the terms of the 2015 MoU, 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 lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (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 of the game
- 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.