Elton John backs Sheffield Eagles’ anti-homophobia rugby t-shirts

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Rugby team Sheffield Eagles are to wear t-shirts to oppose homophobia at a home game on Sunday.

Sports fan Elton John said he was “delighted” at the initiative, while gay sportsmen Gareth Thomas and Steven Davies also gave their support.

The strip, funded by the LGBT History Month and Pride Sports, bears the slogan “Homophobia: Tackle It!”.

The team will wear the strip to play against Widnes Vikings.

John said: “I am delighted to hear about Sheffield Eagles’ initiative.

“I feel that an enormous step forward is being undertaken when Rugby League recognises the diversity of human sexuality. I applaud all those involved in this initiative.”

The Eagles also received support from gay sports stars including Gareth Thomas, John Amaechi and English cricketer Steven Davies, who came out recently.

Davies said: “There may be added pressures in sports as the number of people that have come out is so small so it’s great that Rugby League is taking this step.”

Amaechi, who came out in 2007, said: “I am really proud to see Sheffield Eagles take such a proactive step to break stereotypes and embrace their entire fan base.

“It says something truly positive that it is rugby out of all our top sports and a team based in Sheffield in particular – a city I am proud to say I lived in – that are leading the way.”

In November, the Rugby Football League held a reception in parliament to launch a campaign to welcome gay fans and players.