The UK’s Rugby Football League (RFL) has joined a programme to promote lesbian, gay and bisexual equality in the workplace.

It has signed up to The Diversity Champions, a good practice programme for employers on LGB rights, run by gay rights organisation Stonewall.

The league is the first national governing body of a major sport in Britain to join the programme.

“I am confident that the RFL as an organisation and the wider Rugby League family will rise to the challenge and look forward working with Stonewall to make a real difference,” said the League’s Equality and Diversity Manger, Sarah Williams.

There are currently no openly gay Rugby League players in the UK. Nigel Owens was the first openly gay referee to officiate in a Rugby World Cup last year. He was awarded Stonewall’s Sportsperson of the Year award in 2007.

“We’re delighted at the vision being shown by the RFL,’ said Ben Summerskill, Chief Executive of Stonewall. “Homophobia still deters far too many gay people from being both fans and participants in sport. We hope that we’ll soon see a British Ian Roberts, an iconic Rugby League player able both to come out as gay and play world class rugby at the same time.”

Stonewall will be sending posters stating ‘Some people are gay. Get over it!’ to all RFL clubs when the new season begins in March.

This will also be provided as a visual for match programmes, local advertising and community engagement. The RFL will be holding an event at the beginning of the new season to officially launch their partnership with Stonewall.

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