The Sydney Convicts, Australia’s first gay rugby club, and the current holders of the Bingham Cup.
The 7th Bingham Cup, known as the gay rugby world cup, has opened in Sydney, Australia, with the support of the Australian Rugby Union (ARU).
Hundreds of gay and gay supporting players from around the world are taking part in the event, which ends on Sunday. Twenty four teams will compete, with players from more than 15 countries.
To coincide with the opening, the ARU announced its new Inclusion Policy, designed to stamp out discrimination and homophobia in rugby and ensure a positive environment for everyone involved in the game.
“We want Australian Rugby to be an environment where everyone is treated with respect and dignity, reflecting our desire to create a truly diverse and inclusive Australian Rugby community,” said ARU CEO Bill Pulver.
“There is absolutely no place for homophobia or any form of discrimination in our game and our actions and words, both on and off the field, must reflect this,” he added.
The Bingham Cup is described as a gruelling and intense competition with each team playing six games over the three days. In addition to the rugby, it will also feature 20 events and parties.
The tournament is named after the late openly gay Mark Bingham, one of four passengers who attempted to take back United Airlines flight 93 from hijacker’s during the September 11, 2001 attacks on the US.
Bingham was an original member of one of the first gay rugby teams in the world, the San Francisco Fog RFC and also helped found the New York team, the Gotham Nights.
This year’s Bingham Cup is being hosted by the Sydney Convicts, Australia’s first gay rugby club, and the current holders of the Cup.
In preliminary results from recent research commissioned by the organisers of the Cup, 85% of lesbian, gay and bisexual people and 75% of heterosexual participants said they have witnessed or experienced homophobia in a sporting environment either playing or as a spectator in Australia.