LONDON - International Gay Rugby (IGR) has applauded all unions, its member clubs and World Rugby, for standing together and standing united, against discrimination and hate-crime.


This follows a week-long campaign by IGR urging all national teams to wear rainbow laces ahead of their fixtures, last weekend, to show support for former Wales international Gareth Thomas, who was the victim of a homophobic attack in Cardiff, Nov. 17.

 RugbyLaces
IGR clubs around the world will also be wearing the laces for their own matches and organizing awareness raising activities within their local communities.


Thomas, who came out as gay to great fanfare in 2009, says he is “honored” 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,” said 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 said.


The following Unions have offered rainbow laces to their players:


• Canada
• England
• France
• Germany
• Italy
• New Zealand
• Scotland
• Spain
• Wales
• USA


“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,” added 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.”


International Gay Rugby (IGR) is the umbrella organization for the world's gay and inclusive rugby clubs with 76 member clubs around the world, including the St. Louis Crusaders.

 

"The St. Louis Crusaders stand with International Gay Rugby and Gareth Thomas," said the local team in a statement. "The attack on our fellow rugger is unacceptable and not in the spirit of the game we love. We continue to foster that equality and inclusive spirit to the St. Louis area along with the other six states in our union that do not have an International Gay Rugby team. We believe that everyone should have the chance to experience rugby and sports without the fear of prejudice or discrimination."

 

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