Australia: Major sports bodies unite to wipe out homophobia

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All of Australia’s major sporting bodies will later today commit to policies to clamp down on homophobia in sport.

Representatives from all the country’s major sporting bodies, including the Australian Football League, Australia Rugby Union, National Rugby League, Football Federation of Australia and Cricket Australia, will commit to a new charter, designed to stamp out homophobia across all sports in the country.

The agreement will require tough new anti-homophobia and inclusion policies to be in place by the end of August, when the Bingham Cup, a gay Rugby Union tournament, is due to be held in Sydney.

Bingham Cup president Andrew Purchas said: “The commitment later this week by every professional sport in Australia to eliminate homophobia marks a turning point in the long-term efforts by gay, lesbian and bi-sexual people to be treated with respect in sport.

“These guys compete against each other in terms of sponsors, players, TV rights, money and eyeballs, but they see this issue as more important than any code rivalry and they’re willing and prepared to make some systemic and fundamental change.

“It’s the first time in the world that all the major, professional sports in a country have committed to eliminating homophobia. They will also commit to making sport inclusive and safe.”

Brumbies rugby union player David Pocock said: “I can’t say that I have ever played with someone who is gay and for me that is pretty sad, because statistically I have.

“What that means is that people on my teams haven’t felt safe, being who they really are.”

Purchas added: “We think there’s a real opportunity for sporting codes around the world to take a leaf out of their book and actually come together and do something collectively.”