Sydney has won its bid to host the 2014 Gay Rugby World Cup.
Also known as the Bingham Cup, the week-long event will be held in the harbour city during August 2014 and involve up to 40 teams and 1500 players from across the world.
The event is now considered the world’s largest non-professional international rugby tournament and will be hosted by Sydney’s gay rugby team, the Sydney Convicts (pictured).
Prime Minister Julia Gillard, who had endorsed the bid by appearing in a video made by the Convicts, welcomed the announcement that Sydney was the winner for the 2014 event.
“We all know Sydney is the perfect host for the Bingham Cup; a vibrant, diverse and accepting city with an impressive record for international sporting events,” Gillard told the Star Observer.
“If the bid from the guys at the Convicts rugby club is an indication of their commitment on the rugby field, we could be celebrating more than just hosting the tournament.”
Sydney will be the seventh city to play host to the Bingham Cup, a bi-annual tournament promoting diversity, inclusion and sportsmanship whilst challenging perceptions of gay male identity and sport.
“When the Bingham Cup is played in Sydney it will further dispel the myth that gay men cannot play tough contact sport,” Bingham Cup Bid Committee chair Andrew Purchas said.
“Furthermore, the tournament will shine a spotlight on homophobia in sport, which is still endemic to many of our country’s sporting fields and experienced by young gay athletes.
“Terms such as ‘gay’, ‘fag’ and ‘homo’, if used to insult, has no place on the sports field, in the playground, or the work place.”
The Convicts, who were recently crowned world champions at Bingham 2012 in Manchester, also won this year’s Nicholson Cup in the Sydney Suburban Rugby Union competition.
Former Wallabies captain John Eales also congratulated the Convicts on the winning bid.
“In many respects the Bingham Cup is more than just a rugby tournament. It is an important demonstration of mutual respect and diversity which has always been part of the rugby community,” he said.
“Regardless of the football code you would like to play, sexuality should be an irrelevant consideration. Unfortunately this is not a reality and there is still work to be done to eliminate negative stereotypes and homophobia in sport.”
Interstate teams the Melbourne Chargers Rugby Union Football Club and Brisbane Hustlers Rugby Union Football Club have also welcomed the announcement of the win. They will assist in hosting and also compete in the tournament.