In an effort to encourage more gay rugby players into the sport and educate people about homophobia, Rugby Australia (RA) has entered into an alliance with a number of LGBTIQ inclusive rugby clubs.
Under the alliance RA, the rugby union governing body, a committee will be formed with four clubs; Sydney Convicts, Melbourne Chargers, Brisbane Hustlers, and Perth Rams as well as the UK based International Gay Rugby.
“We want rugby to be a game that all Australians can enjoy regardless of their age, race, background, religion, gender or sexual orientation,” said RA chief executive, Raelene Castle.
“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 (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer/questioning, asexual) community.”
The move is hoped to strengthen ties with the LGBTIQ community in a year it has been strained with the homophobic posts of one its former star players, Israel Folau.
Back in May Folau, had his contract terminated after he posted on his Instagram in April saying that homosexuals and other “sinners” would go to hell.
RA is currently being sued by Folau, in a multi-million dollar dispute, who is appealing its decision on religious freedom grounds.
The case will go to court in February should further mediation fail in December.
RA told foxsports.com.au that the new alliance wasn’t in response to the unfolding saga with Folau.
A Rugby Australia official pointed to the governing body previously hosting the Bingham Cup — the biennial world championships of gay Rugby — in 2014.