BOULDER, Colo. – USA
Rugby signed a memorandum of understanding with International
Gay Rugby (IGR) Thursday, setting forth a partnership
that will see the national governing body for the
sport of rugby union in the United States promote
a diverse and inclusive environment in all levels
of Rugby, working to end homophobia in all areas of
In March 2015, IGR recently signed an agreement with
World Rugby to collaborate on the promotion of equality
and inclusivity in rugby around the world, actively
seeking to globally remove homophobia from the game.
The agreement with USA Rugby focuses mainly on the
domestic side of the game in the United States to
ensure registered members of USA Rugby are provided
with the tools and education necessary to combat discrimination,
be it based on sexual orientation, perceived sexual
orientation, or identification.
USA Rugby recognizes the right of any player, official,
coach, and spectator to be involved in rugby without
bullying, discrimination, or exclusion of any kind,
and celebrates the differences that make its members
Nigel Melville, CEO of USA Rugby said "USA Rugby
is thrilled to be joining IGR in the advancement of
diversity and inclusion throughout the sport of rugby.
Following in World Rugby's footsteps, we are steadfast
in ensuring that rugby remains and continues to grow
as a sport for individuals from all walks of life."
USA Rugby will work with its own member associations,
clubs, and unions to improve acceptance of LGBT members,
provide educational tools to support in the elimination
of perceived and institutionalized homophobia in the
game, and help support IGR events.
“IGR is very proud of the leadership that USA
Rugby continues to show around equality, diversity
and inclusion in Rugby. The signing of this agreement
is a great example of the commitment of USA Rugby
to eliminating homophobia from the sport at all levels.
We look forward to our continued partnership in creating
a safe and homophobia free environment for all players,
proving that rugby is the most inclusive sport in
the United States and in the World.” Jeff Wilson,
Chairman of International Gay Rugby (IGR) said.
IGR provides its 56 member clubs in fifteen countries
developmental support and resources in several aspects
of club organization through leadership and community
engagement . Also, IGR member clubs host global, continental
and regional tournaments and events celebrating the
diversity and inclusion rugby community. The Mark
Kendall Bingham Memorial Tournament is the flagship
global event for IGR Member Clubs. Named after a gay
American rugby player who died on United Flight 93
on September 11, 2001, the Bingham Cup is IGR’s
World Cup of gay and inclusive rugby.
The Nashville Grizzlies RFC will host the 2016 Mark
Kendall Bingham Memorial Tournament in the “Music
City” of Nashville, Tennessee from Monday, May
22 through Sunday, May 29. This will be the first
since 2010 that the tournament has been held in the
USA and is the first time it has ever been held in
“The Organizing Committee is excited to partner
with USA Rugby” said Jon Glassmayer, the president
of the Mark Kendall Bingham Cup 2016 Organizing Committee.
“This agreement demonstrates USA Rugby’s
commitment to inclusiveness and sets an example for
other national unions around the world.”