Over 60 LGBT+ teams from 18 countries are set to battle it out in Birmingham for the 2021 Union Cup – Europe’s premier inclusive rugby event.
The cup is set to begin on April 30 and the organisers are seeking to build on the legacy of last year’s event in Dublin which brought in record crowds.
Tournament Director for the 2021 Union Cup, Alistair Burford, said all eyes will be on the tournament after the postponement of Bingham Cup until 2022 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Birmingham Bulls RFC is thrilled to be the host club for the upcoming Union Cup 2021,” he said. “Bringing the cup to Birmingham has been a dream of the Bulls for many years. Birmingham is the UK’s second city and we’re looking to giving our visiting teams and fans a first-class experience.”
Gay rugby icon Gareth Thomas will be leading the Ambassadors of the Union Cup 2021, and he said it was an honour to get involved with last year’s tourney.
“This is such an important, high-profile tournament that really does make a difference. I am proud to be an Ambassador for the Union Cup 2021 and breaking down barriers in LGBT+ sport,” he said.
This year’s organisers want to expand the cup’s audience outside of just the LGBT+ community and into the wider public. David Cumpston, Chair of Birmingham Bulls expressed his desire for the games to be as welcoming as possible.
“This is an inclusive rugby tournament and it feels right to extend that inclusivity to all, irrespective of creed, colour, sexuality, gender or even if they’ve been to a rugby match before, or not!” he said. “Sport is about fun and that’s our overarching principle; for everyone to have fun.”
Chairperson of International Gay Rugby Ben Owens said he’s looking forward to working with the Birmingham Bulls to make it the biggest celebration of diversity in rugby the UK has ever seen.
“As rugby pitches around the world lie empty, the Union Cup Birmingham 2021 is a shining light at the end of the tunnel for LGBT+ rugby players across Europe,” he said.
The Bulls will host the tournament at Birmingham City University’s Pavilion, Moor Lane from April 30th to May 2nd, 2021. Those who are interested should keep an eye on the Birmingham Bulls’s website for updates.
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