22 Jun 2020
Rugby League united against racism
Black Lives Matter and the sport of Rugby League stands in solidarity with players, coaches, fans, volunteers, staff and supporters in the struggle against racism and discrimination.
As a sport we have been sharing, reflecting and listening and we will continue to listen and learn from the lived experiences of black players, coaches, and supporters, to share ideas and challenge ourselves to do more and be better.
Rugby League is already a powerful force for good in many ways and this reach and care can be vital in the fight against racism. Rugby League can work to be actively anti-racist and to stand stronger with the black community.
We will focus on the actions we can take now and strive for continuous improvement. This means we will redouble our efforts to increase the number of black and minority ethnic players, coaches, administrators, volunteers, fans, and supporters. The organisations within the sport will be unequivocal in how we deal with racism and we will make a stronger use of our platforms to be anti-racism campaigners.
Rugby League has been enriched throughout its history by outstanding black players, captains and coaches. We are all proud of that, as we are of clubs, foundations and projects which have reached and continue to reach BAME participants, fans and communities through their pathways and programmes. We must now bring together all the learnings from the past without living in it.
We are an honest sport and we are acknowledging the reality that in our 125th year our sport is not fully representative of the communities in which we are based. Whether that is on professional or community pitches, in clubhouses, on terraces, in boardrooms, in the media or in our community work and that means the sport misses out on immense talent, passion, skills and experience as well as opportunities to connect, learn, grow, and expand.
By owning the issues and being honest, we can address barriers and make changes. Inclusion and diversity plans are embedded in the work of the national governing body, clubs, foundations and Rugby League Cares (the sport’s charity), as well as community clubs and education partners. It also drives the work of the Rugby League World Cup 2021.
There is a huge opportunity to do more and be better as we look to ahead to the most inclusive World Cup ever held. For the first time, the World Cup will stage three competitions – men’s, women’s, and wheelchair RL in one inspirational tournament. It will be a celebration of the development of a sport which was formed in England in 1895 and is set to welcome teams from around the world in 2020.
We have an opportunity that we must take to connect with everyone in our communities and welcome new audiences by listening, learning, and acting.
Listening and Learning into Action sessions are taking place across the sport, supported by the RFL, Super League, Championship and League 1, and partners for the whole sport and you can learn more about these by visiting www.rugby-league.com