RFL show support for LGBT history month
The RFL are proud to announce that Co-operative Championship side Sheffield Eagles will be wearing a specially commissioned shirt for their league clash with Widnes Vikings on Sunday March 13 to celebrate 2011’s LGBT history month, which began on February 1.
In the lead up to the 2012 London Olympics, LGBT history month will be dedicated to celebrating LGBT events and stars within the sporting world and to show their support, the Eagles will wear a shirt bearing the strap line ‘Homophobia – Tackle IT!’.
The shirt, sponsored by LGBT History Month and Pride Sports, promotes the RFL’s ‘Tackle IT’ programme and is the first time a mainstream sports team has made such a public statement about the importance of tackling homophobia in sport.
“To have Sheffield playing a competitive league game in this special kit is great news,” said RFL Chairman Richard Lewis.
“At the RFL we are committed to eradicating all traces of discrimination from our sport and we have made great strides in recent years and the commitment of the Eagles side to wear the specially designed kits is just the latest step forwards for the sport.”
Sheffield Eagles’ decision to wear the specially branded shirts came after one of their directors attended an LGBT workshop at the RFL Equality and Diversity conference for clubs and follows a number of recent groundbreaking achievements by Rugby League.
The RFL was recently included in the Stonewall Top 100 Workplace Index, becoming the first sports organisation ever to be named as a leading LGBT friendly employer, an accolade that followed Gareth Thomas’s recognition as the 2010 Stonewall LGBT Hero of The Year.
The RFL also recently became the first sports organisation ever to launch a match day Tackle IT!”‘Textline’ service for fans at all professional and semi-professional clubs, The Textline allows fans to anonymously text a dedicated phone line to report any racist, homophobic or other unacceptable abuse or behaviour at games.
“We’ve had a great year as an organisation, one of fantastic achievement in all aspects of equality and diversity,” said Sarah Williams, RFL Equality and Diversity Manager.
“Sheffield Eagles playing a competitive league game in these specially designed shirts is a first for any sport and it is a very proud moment for Rugby League to be leading the way once again in promoting inclusion and tackling homophobia.
“We hope as many people as possible will support the Sheffield Eagles on March 13.”