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Pride in Sport welcomes NSW Rugby Union and Rugby Australia action against Israel Folau

Pride in Sport welcomes NSW Rugby Union and Rugby Australia action against Israel Folau
April 12, 2019
Sport /

Australian LGBTI Sporting Inclusion Body, Pride in Sport, commends Rugby Australia and NSW Rugby Union for the decisive action taken in the wake of homophobic and transphobic comments made by rugby player Israel Folau.

On 10th April 2019, Folau, one of the most recognisable and visible sporting figures in Australia, posted homophobic and transphobic comments and memes on social media that were demeaning, vitriolic and unacceptable.

On 11th April 2019, Rugby Australia Chief Executive Raelene Castle and NSW Rugby Union Chief Executive Andrew Hore issued a statement indicating their intention to terminate Folau’s contract.

Pride in Sport is the national not-for-profit program that supports Australian sporting organisations and clubs in all aspects of LGBTI inclusion. Spearheaded by ACON, Australia’s leading LGBTI health organisation, Pride in Sport is the publisher of the annual benchmarking index of LGBTI inclusivity in sport.

Andrew Purchas, Vice-President of ACON and Co-founder of the Pride in Sport Index, advised “we commend Rugby Australia and NSW Rugby Union for their leadership and courage in taking a strong stand against homophobia and transphobia, and reaffirming their commitment to diversity and inclusion.

“This unprecedented course of action sends a strong message of what will and will not be tolerated in rugby - and they’ve made it clear that homophobia and transphobia has no place in the sport, whether on or off the field.

“The words and actions of athletes and sporting figures have far-reaching consequences. Homophobic and transphobic remarks create division, take away people’s dignity and can contribute to people feeling excluded, anxious and inferior.

“We encourage all sporting bodies to follow the lead of Rugby Australia and NSW Rugby Union, and take a stand against homophobic and transphobic discrimination when it occurs, regardless of an individual’s social or professional stature within that sport,” Purchas said.

Pride in Sport Program Manager Beau Newell said there has been tremendous progress in Australian sport when it comes to LGBTI inclusivity. But incidents such as this reminds us of the importance of the need to continue fostering diversity and inclusion across all sporting codes. 

Newell added “Pride in Sport is supporting sporting organisations and clubs across the country in helping make Australian sport more inclusive - including rugby.

“Sport isn’t about who or what you are - it’s about camaraderie, team work and fair play.

“We thank Rugby Australia and NSW Rugby Union for this decisive action, their bravery and leadership. We look forward to continuing to work with them around inclusion at all levels of the sport." 

For more information about Pride in Sport visit

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9th April 2019 - Rugby Australia announces $5.2 million surplus for 2018

18th March 2019 - NRL gender adviser says some rugby league players are ‘education-proof’

16th February 2019 - Rugby Australia uses charitable foundation to pay elite player salaries

31st August 2018 - Study shows education can change homophobic attitudes in sport

10th August 2018 - YMCA NSW launches LGBTI employee staff and advocacy group

20th June 2018 - Athletes, clubs and organisations recognised for LGBTI inclusion

20th May 2018 - Raelene Castle shares plan to revive Australian rugby

9th April 2018 - Rugby Australia impacted by Western Force axeing and declining Test crowds

29th August 2014 - ARU approves inclusion policy ahead of 2014 Bingham Cup

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