International Gay Rugby (IGR) the umbrella organisation for the world’s gay and inclusive rugby clubs, with 76 member clubs around the world, has applauded all unions, its member clubs, and World Rugby, for standing together and standing united, against discrimination and hate-crime.
This comes after a week-long campaign by IGR, to urge all national teams to wear rainbow laces ahead of their weekend fixtures, to show support for former Wales international, Gareth Thomas, who was the victim of a homophobic attack in Cardiff last weekend.
IGR clubs around the world will also be wearing the laces for their own matches, and organising awareness raising activities within their local communities.
Thomas himself, has said he is “honoured” by the initiative.
“We are incredibly humbled and encouraged by the support and solidarity shown towards Gareth and the LGBT+ community this week, with World Rugby and every national union supporting our initiative,” says Ben Owen, IGR Chair.
“Rugby truly is a sport for all where everyone is welcome, regardless of age, race, ability, or gender identity and sexual orientation”, he says.
The following Unions have offered rainbow laces to their players:
- New Zealand
“This weekend is all about showing to the world, rugby’s shared values of solidarity and respect, firmly saying no to discrimination and hate-crime”, adds Owen.
“We are incredibly encouraged by the response this week and shall continue to work with our member clubs, World Rugby and the national unions to promote tolerance, understanding and acceptance, both on and off the rugby field”.