The International Gay Rugby Association & Board (IGRAB) today announced that Sydney has won the bid to host the Bingham Cup 2014, the world cup of gay rugby.
The week-long event to be held in August 2014, will see up to 40 teams and 1500 players along with coaches and supporters hosted in Sydney. The event is now considered one of the world’s largest non-professional international rugby tournaments.
“Winning the rights to host the 2014 Bingham Cup is a great result for the Sydney Convicts and for Sydney. This will be one of the biggest events for the City and Eastern Suburbs since we hosted the beach volleyball in the 2000 Olympics.” Said The Hon. Malcolm Turnbull, MP, Member for Wentworth.
Sydney will be the seventh city to play host to the Bingham Cup, a biennial tournament promoting diversity, inclusion and sportsmanship whilst challenging perceptions of gay male identity and sport.
“Our city is renowned for hosting world class events and Bingham 2014 will not disappoint,” said Clover Moore, Lord Mayor of Sydney.
“Bingham Cup 2014 will give Sydney the chance to witness the passion with which gay communities from around the world have taken to the rugby pitch. It might also dispel a few myths along the way, by showing Australia that gay men can and do play tough contact sports like rugby. Some play the game at a very high level; all play with the passion that marks a love of playing the game. The tournament will shine a national spotlight on homophobia in sport, which is still endemic to many of our sporting fields and experienced by many gay athletes, particularly youth. Insults like ‘fag’ and ‘homo’ have no place on the sports field, just as on the playground and at the work place,” Said Andrew Purchas, President, Bingham 2014 – Sydney Bid Committee.
The bid was successfully led by the Sydney Convicts Rugby Club, Australia’s first gay rugby union team. The Convicts were recently crowned gay rugby world champions at Bingham 2012, hosted in Manchester, and also won this year’s Nicholson Cup in the Sydney Suburban Rubgy Union Competition.
Australia’s most successful Wallaby Captain, ARU Board member and supporter of the recent bid, John Eales, says: “In many respects the Bingham Cup is more than just a rugby tournament. It is an important demonstration of mutual respect and diversity which has always been part of the rugby community. Regardless of the football code you would like to play, sexuality should be an irrelevant consideration. Unfortunately this is not a reality and there is still work to be done to eliminate negative stereotypes and homophobia in sport”.
Interstate gay rugby teams, the Melbourne Chargers Rugby Football Club and Brisbane Hustlers Rugby Football Club have also welcomed the announcement of the win. They will assist in hosting and also compete in the tournament.
In congratulating the Bid Committee on their win, IGRAB acknowledged the role played by a diverse range of high-profile backers including local, state, and federal politicians, Australian rugby administrators and high-profile Australian sporting greats.
“The wide ranging support shown by the Australian sporting greats, senior business leaders and government figures is remarkable. The strong endorsement of the Australian Prime Minister, Members of Parliament, State Ministers and the Governor of NSW highlights Australia’s willingness to tackle homophobia on the pitch, which remains one of the last places that discrimination is still common. We look forward to a world-class tournament that celebrates tolerance and acceptance in a very welcoming and supportive city such as Sydney” said Jeff Wilson, Chair of IGRAB
Australian Prime Minister, Hon. Julia Gillard MP recently recorded a video of support and “strongly endorsed” the bid saying: “The vibrant city of Sydney is the perfect location for the Bingham Cup and the Sydney Convicts, Australia’s first gay rugby union club, are the perfect hosts.”
Fellow bid supporters included:
• Her Excellency Professor Marie Bashir AC CVO, Governor of New South Wales
• Mr. Nick Farr-Jones, Chair New South Wales Rugby Union Ltd
• The Hon George Souris MP, New South Wales Minister for Tourism, Major Events, Hospitality and Racing; Minister for the Arts
• Hon Clover Moore MP – Lord Mayor of Sydney
• Councillor Andrew Petrie – Mayor of Woollahra
Note: copies of the letters of support can be accessed at https://www.dropbox.com/sh/7oc2aegjre0wfsh/oYJQ2_13xE/Media
The direct economic benefit to the Australian economy of hosting the Bingham Cup has been forecast to be $4-6m AUD. The broader Australian tourism industry will similarly benefit from the influx of pink dollars, with post-tournament touring programs already attracting keen interest from the teams travelling from the USA, Canada, the UK, Europe and New Zealand.
The Bingham Cup 2014 Organising Committee will work with members of the community to assist with planning the event and also continue talking to potential corporate sponsors. “The level of support shown by both the gay and rugby communities for Sydney’s Bingham Cup bid has been sincerely humbling. We are hopeful that corporate Australia will get behind this event with the same enthusiasm. Bingham 2014 will showcase their brands to an Australian and global audience with significant spending power. Traditionally, some major brands have been shy to support gay related events. But corporate attitudes to gay issues and events are changing for the better, in tune with Australia’s growing acceptance and inclusion of gay and lesbian people” said Andrew Purchas, Chair of the Bingham Cup Bid Committee.
Fans and supporters of the event are encouraged to connect with the event through the tournament’s Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/bingham2014) and on Twitter using the #bingham2014 hashtag
Erik Denison 0400 996 560 or Jon Spring 0422 918 189
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