Sports Minister praises work of rugby league in tackling homophobia
The Sports Minister today (Thursday 9 February) praised rugby league for its leadership in tackling homophobia in sport.
At Culture, Media and Sport Questions, All-Party Parliamentary Rugby League Group Chair, Greg Mulholland MP, asked the Minister to join him in welcoming “the leadership shown by rugby league in tackling homophobia in sport, on this, the day that the Super League season kicks off.”
The Sports Minister responded by “praising rugby league for all its efforts in making progress on this issue.” The Minister went on to welcome the start of the Super League season, which kicks off with a game between Leeds and St Helens this evening.
Speaking afterwards, Parliamentary Rugby League Group Chair and Leeds North West MP, Greg Mulholland, said “Rugby league has shown great leadership in challenging homophobia, including through the very successful Tackle It campaign run by the Rugby Football League. The Parliamentary Group was delighted to host a meeting about this and we are very proud that rugby league has led the way in addressing this issue.”
“Homophobia has no place in sport and must be stamped out the same way racism has been dealt with. We want all LGBT rugby league people, whether a player at any level, a coach, referee, supporter or volunteer to feel welcome and valued in the game. We must get to the stage where people’s sexuality is not an issue for anyone in sport and until then, the rugby league community, clubs and the RFL are right to continue to campaign until that becomes the case. I hope that other sports can learn from the excellent work that rugby league has done on this issue.”
Ralph Rimmer, Chief Operating Officer at The Rugby Football League, added “we are grateful to the Chair of the APPRLG for highlighting the inclusive nature of rugby league; a sport that has been at the forefront of the equality and diversity agenda for many years. We intend to continue to remain at the forefront of inclusivity campaigning as a professional and a grassroots sport. Rugby league provides opportunities for everyone to get involved, as a player, volunteer, coach, supporter or worker. We are proud of our reputation as a friendly, welcoming and inclusive family sport.”
The full exchange in the House of Commons can be viewed here.