ORGANISERS of the upcoming Bingham Cup tournament in Sydney have said the event is much more than just an international sporting showcase — there’s also a big cultural and community aspect to it, too.

Sometimes known as the “World Cup” of gay rugby union, the event will see teams from all around the world converge in Sydney to compete over three days in late August for the coveted silver trophy.

“It is so much more than that,” events manager Jonny Bastin told the Star Observer.

“The Bingham Cup Organising Committee have used it as a catalyst for change in Australian sport, conducting research and championing anti-homophobia policies.”

Indeed, in April this year all five of Australia’s major sporting codes — AFL, NRL, Australian Rugby Union (ARU), Football Federation Australia and Cricket Australia — signed the Anti-homophobia and Inclusion Framework policy to eradicate homophobia from within their sports. It was the first of its kind in the world.

“So as well as the rugby and the great policy work we also want people to have fun when they’re in Sydney,” Bastin said.

“We have over 20 events… We’re aiming to show off Sydney, with events at iconic locations such as Bondi and the Opera House as well as in and around Oxford St.”

Bastin also highlighted that for the first time, the Bingham Cup will include around eight female teams.

“[It] is not just for the guys. We’re excited as for the first time ever the Bingham Cup in Sydney will include rugby games for female teams,” he said.

Bastin said other highlights of the tournament will be the matches at Rose Bay, and the social events outside the games.

“If you’ve never been to an international gay rugby match before, you need to get out there and watch,” he said.

“It’ll be a fun day out. We’ll be running a bus shuttle service to the games from Edgecliff railway station.

“Other highlights include our Super Saturday charity night spread over all three Bingham Bars on August 30. It will be raucous, with a lot going on to raise money for our three nominated charities: The Cauliflower Club, The Lloyd McDermott Trust and The Pinnacle Foundation.

“But the big highlight for a lot of people will be our massive closing party at The Ivy on Sunday August 31. We’re not giving away too much just yet, but expect Australia’s hottest DJs, some sexy surprise acts and hundreds of hot rugby players from around the world.”

Bastin added that he and the rest of the Bingham Cup Organising Committee have been overwhelmed by the positive support from Sydney’s LGBTI community.

“We’re very grateful for all the support from other community groups in Sydney; including Mardi Gras who’ve been helping us a lot with our planning behind the scenes and who will be managing our volunteers program,” he said.

“The ARU and Woollahra Colleagues RUFC and Eastern Suburbs RUFC have been great partners, ensuring that we put on a great tournament.

“Event wise, the Harbour City Bears are organising the Aussie Pool Party for us and the soccer guys from Sydney Rangers FC will be running a barbecue at the pool,” Bastin added.

“Queer Screen is showing an encore screening of The Rugby Player movie… a documentary about Mark Bingham after whom the tournament is named. And our social event at Bondi Pavilion will have a barbecue on the balcony run by the Lifesavers with Pride.

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Bastin also highlighted the community support that came from interstate and abroad, too.

“Interstate and overseas, gay rugby clubs have been doing a lot of fundraising to get their teams to Sydney for the Bingham Cup and we’re working with London’s Kings Cross Steelers to bring their fun and sexy Haka Vogue show to Sydney as part of our Super Saturday event,” he said.

“We’ve also teamed up with Jaqui Cunningham from the GiRLTHING parties to put on a special meet-and-greet party for the women’s teams at her new bar.”

Bastin said the significance of this community support could not be underestimated, as it went beyond ensuring a successful Bingham Cup both in terms of the tournament and cultural events.

“Be part of the fun at the end of August,” Bastin said.

“This will be like a ‘mini Mardi Gras’, with players from 30 gay rugby clubs descending on Sydney. This is the first time the Bingham Cup has been to Sydney so we’re going to make the most of the opportunity to have a great time.”

The Star Observer is a proud media partner of the 2014 Bingham Cup Sydney, to be held August 24–31. 

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BINGHAM CUP EVENTS

G’day Welcome Drinks

August 24, 3pm–9pm

The Beresford, Surry Hills

Sydney Harbour Drinks

August 25, 3pm–6pm

Opera Bar, Sydney Opera House

The Rugby Player screening

August 25, 7pm–9pm

Event Cinemas, Sydney CBD

Bondi Touch Footy

August 26, 1.30pm–3pm

Bondi Beach

Sunset Social at Bondi Beach

August 26, 3pm–7pm

Bondi Beach

Rugby Classics

August 26, 8pm–11pm

Kinselas Hotel, Darlinghurst

Wallaby / Waratah rugby clinic

August 27, 9.30am–11.30am

Moore Park

Rugby Club Bar Tour

August 27, 6pm–10pm

The Beresford, Kinselas and Stonewall Hotel, Darlinghurst

Rugby Club Photoshoot

August 28, all day

Sydney Opera House

SMART Rugby Clinic

August 28, 9.30am–11.30am

Moore Park

Bingham Cup Opening Ceremony

August 28, 6pm–9pm

Museum of Contemporary Art, Circular Quay

Opening Ceremony After Party with BoysUp

August 28, 9pm–1am

Stonewall Hotel, Darlinghurst

Tournament Day 1 — Pool Games

August 29, 9.30am–4pm

Woollahra Colleagues, Rose Bay

Aussie Pool Party & BBQ

August 29, 6.30pm–9pm

Cook & Phillip Aquatic Centre, Sydney

Womens Teams Meet & Greet

August 29, 7pm–11pm

Secret Garden Bar, Enmore

Tournament Day 2 — Quarter Finals

August 30, 8.30am–4pm

Woollahra Colleagues, Rose Bay

Super Saturday

August 30, 8pm–2am

The Beresford, Kinselas and Stonewall Hotel, Darlinghurst

Tournament Day 3 — Finals

August 31, 8am–4pm

Woollahra Colleagues, Rose Bay

Bingham Cup Awards & Closing Party

August 31, 6pm–3am

The Ivy, Sydney CBD

DETAILS: www.binghamcup.com

**This article first appeared in the July edition of Star Observer. The August issue has just hit the stands in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide and Canberra.  Click here to find out where you can grab your free copy.

© Star Observer 2014 | For the latest in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans* and Intersex (LGBTI) news in Australia, be sure to visit starobserver.com.au daily. You can also pick up the next Star Observer monthly magazine November 21 or Join us on our Facebook page and Twitter feed.