A RANGE of initiatives to combat homophobia in sports is shaping up to be one of the main legacies of this month’s Bingham Cup following a recent successful fundraising effort.

Last week, a slew of sports stars including the South Sydney Rabbitohs’ Tom Burgess, Olympic medallist Daniel Kowalski and former Wallaby star Nick Farr Jones, attended a fundraising dinner hosted by the Commonwealth Bank in aid of the gay rugby world cup tournament to be held in Sydney later this month.

Commonwealth Bank chief executive Ian Narev and David Jones chief executive Paul Zahra were also in attendance at the gala that raised $44,000.

Bingham Cup Sydney 2014 president Andrew Purchas said the money would fund initiatives to address homophobia in sport well beyond the tournament.

“From the very start of organising the Bingham Cup, we decided we wanted to ensure the tournament was a catalyst for change in Australian sports,” he said.

“Key to this is ensuring we are able to support a range of legacy projects and initiatives, similar to the creation of the Anti-Homophobia and Inclusion Framework and the Out on the Fields international study on homophobia in sport.”

The Commonwealth Bank is a principal partner of the Bingham Cup with its New Zealand subsidiary sponsoring the Falcons, one of the teams travelling to Sydney for the tournament.

The bank’s Executive General Manager Corporate Affairs, Andrew Hall, said: “The Bingham Cup Sydney 2014 is a fantastic event that embraces the spirit of LGBTI inclusion.

“As a principal partner, we are proud to help raise funds so their work around cultural change and LGBTI inclusiveness can continue beyond the tournament.”

Alex Blackwell, one of Australia’s only out LGBT professional athletes and vice-captain of the Southern Stars cricket team also attended the fundraising dinner.

“Whether you are playing elite or amateur sport, homophobia is something most athletes have experienced at some point,” she said.

“We still have a lot of work to do, but thankfully this fundraiser and other initiatives like it, show there is a momentum in Australia toward changing sporting culture so it is more welcoming and safe for openly gay athletes.”

The Bingham Cup rugby festival begins on August 24 with matches taking place in Rose Bay, in Sydney’s eastern suburbs.


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