World Rugby and International Gay Rugby (IGR) have signed an historic agreement to collaborate on the continued promotion of equality and inclusivity in rugby. 

The agreement, signed at World Rugby House in Dublin this week, outlines a commitment between the two organisations to work together to educate and eliminate homophobia in rugby. 

Under the terms of the Memorandum of Understanding, World Rugby and IGR recognise and respect: 

  • the right of any player, official and spectator to be involved with rugby without discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation or identification
  • the common goal of inclusion and the elimination of homophobia in rugby 

World Rugby and IGR will consult on issues of importance to members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community and the game of rugby by: 

  • developing a positive and mutually beneficial relationship based on a sense of shared purpose
  • working with regional associations and member unions to improve tolerance and acceptance of LGBT players at all levels within rugby union
  • providing educational tools to World Rugby member unions to support in the elimination of homophobia in rugby
  • supporting the promotion and development of IGR’s events 

"We look forward to collaborating with International Gay Rugby to promote inclusivity, equality and friendship as rugby continues to reach out, engage and inspire more men, women and children than ever before." World Rugby Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: "Rugby is an inclusive sport which has at its heart character-building values of passion, integrity, solidarity, respect and discipline. The signing of this historic agreement underscores our commitment to those values and our strategic vision – a game for all, true to its values. 

International Gay Rugby Chairman Jeff Wilson said: "This is a momentous occasion for LGBT athletes, supporters, officials and administrators and the people who support them in the game of rugby. World Rugby is a trail-blazer as a global governing body in committing to actively eliminate homophobia from any sport. We are committed to partnering with World Rugby to continue our work of making rugby the most inclusive and tolerant sport in the world. 

"The bold step by World Rugby to commit to these shared purposes with IGR reflects the character-building values that are important to us all in the sport. Hopefully, other sporting governing bodies can look to World Rugby as a role model and follow suit." 

 Photo: Dan Sheridan/INPHO