USA Rugby, the national governing body for the sport of rugby union in the United States, has signed “a memorandum of understanding” with International Gay Rugby ahead of next year’s Bingham Cup in Nashville, which will be the first time since 2010 that the tournament has been held in the U.S. and its first time ever in the mid-south.
The agreement is “to collaborate on the promotion of equality and inclusivity in rugby around the world, actively seeking to globally remove homophobia from the game” according to USA Rugby, which adds:
“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 unique…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.”
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Said Nigel Melville, CEO of USA Rugby: “USA Rugby is thrilled to be joining IGR in the advancement of diversity and inclusion throughout the sport of rugby, as well to eliminate homophobia from the game. 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.”
The Mark Kendall Bingham Memorial Tournament (aka The Bingham Cup) is named for Mark Bingham, a gay rugby player who led a charge with other passengers against terrorists aboard Flight 93 on September 11, 2001.
The Bingham Cup is IGR’s World Cup of inclusive and gay rugby.
Said Jon Glassmeyer, the president of the Mark Kendall Bingham Cup 2016 Organizing Committee: “The Organizing Committee is excited to partner with USA Rugby. This agreement demonstrates USA Rugby’s commitment to inclusiveness and sets an example for other national unions around the world.”
Nashville is home to the Nashville Grizzlies RFC. You may remember their amazing 2015 calendar (below). If not, check it out or revisit it HERE.