- Gareth Thomas keen to bring gay World Cup to the UK
- It would help break to down barriers – Thomas
Photo: Getty Images
Former British Lions captain Gareth Thomas has thrown his weight behind a campaign to bring the World Cup of gay rugby to the UK in 2012.
Thomas wants to see the championships in Manchester which would take place in June 2012, a month ahead of the London Olympic Games.
The biennial Bingham Cup is the largest 15-a-side men’s rugby union tournament outside the IRB Rugby World Cup as takes its name from gay rugby player Mark Bingham, who tragically died on United Airlines Flight 93 on September 11.
The three-day tournament will see more than 1,000 players from clubs drawn from 10 nations taking part.
All eyes on Britain in 2012
Thomas – who was recently hailed as the most influential gay man in the UK by The Independent newspaper – said: “I’m passionate that anyone, regardless of their background, should be able to play rugby. Events such as the Bingham Cup help break down barriers and bring more people into our great sport.
“In the year London hosts the Olympics and with the world’s sporting eyes looking at Britain, I think it is right Manchester should host such a tournament.”
Britain’s bid for the Bingham Cup has also attracted other big name backers, including Sale Sharks and ex-England player, Ben Cohen, former international referee Nigel Owens as well as the RFU.
The RFU’s Equity and Inclusion Manager Nic Scott, said: “We are pleased and excited that this prestigious international tournament in the lesbian and gay sports calendar may be brought to England.
"The RFU has offered its full support to the event as it is pleased to be working with such a dedicated project team."