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Rugby league champions dedicate match to gay rights

Leeds Rhinos team up with UK-based gay rights charity Stonewall to support equality
Leeds Rhinos to dedicate match to gay rights group Stonewall
Photo by Leeds Rhinos

British world champion rugby club Leeds Rhinos will show its support for gay equality by dedicating a match to rights group Stonewall.

The rugby league team, who won this year's World Club Challenge, will wear Stonewall’s logo on their kit during their game against the Widnes Vikings on 10 August.

Emmerdale stars including Nick Miles, who plays Jimmy King in the long-running English soap opera, will also attend the match to celebrate the program’s efforts to raise awareness of LGBT issues in some of their storylines.

Shaun Lunt, Leeds Rhinos and England international hooker, said: ‘Rugby league has always been an inclusive game for all parts of the community.

'It’s great that the RFL can lead the way with an initiative like this and we’re happy here at the Rhinos to help promote that message.’

The Rugby Football League (RFL), the UK governing body for rugby, is a member of Stonewall’s Diversity Champions programme that helps employers support gay staff.

It is also one of Britain’s top 100 employers for gay people according to Stonewall's Workplace Equality Index.

Laura Doughty, Stonewall deputy chief executive, said that ‘recent polling by University of Cambridge’s centre for family research shows two thirds of gay young people don’t like team sports, often because they face homophobic bullying on the pitch and in the changing rooms.’

‘Governing bodies and sport teams can help change that by following the RFL’s and the Rhinos’ lead in tackling homophobia and celebrating equality’, said Doughty.

To celebrate its commitment to equality, the RFL is offering a commemorative Leeds Rhinos shirt and two free tickets to the Carnegie Challenge Cup Finals at Wembley stadium on 25 August.

To take part, visit Stonewall's Facebook page here. the competition closes on 15 August.

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