Rugby, united against racism

With all the discussions about “Black Lives Matter” at present, we think it is very important to re-iterate the stance of the RFU on racism and also include our own commitment. Below is a communication from the RFU:

As a sport, Rugby Union prides itself on being inclusive and open to all. Diversity is therefore hugely important to us and we recognise that there’s certainly more work to be done to ensure that our sport is representative of the society in which we live.

There is simply no place for racism in our sport. The RFU takes a very dim view of this and will take all actions possible to remove any sign of it from our game. We urge our Member clubs to do likewise and would like you to encourage your members to think about their own commitment. What can we all do to support diversity and what actions could make a difference?

Our discipline department will investigate fully any behaviours not in line with the game’s core values brought to its attention and do all that it can to remove abusive behaviour from the game. Anyone with any concerns should contact the confidential helpline speakup@rfu.com.

On the ground in clubs and schools we have focussed significant time and energy to provide opportunities for people from BAME backgrounds to get involved in rugby. Some of the work we have undertaken includes:

  • All Schools Programme – an initiative started in 2012 as part of the Rugby World Cup 2015 Legacy Programme to increase the number of secondary state schools playing rugby union and to encourage new players to join local clubs. 750 schools have taken part and 22% of those children involved were from BAME backgrounds.
  • Project Rugby, Premiership Rugby and England Rugby’s inclusivity programme, reached the landmark of 25,000 new players in May 2019. In its first two years there were 3,340 participants from BAME backgrounds, 17,715 from low socio-economic groups and 4,652 people with disabilities participating in rugby.
  • England’s 2019 Rugby World Cup Squad – more than a third of the players in the squad (31 total) were from BAME backgrounds. These players are great role models and we believe that though them and our participation programmes we can bring new BAME players into the game to become future players, officials and administrators.
  • The RFU Council has a diversity and inclusion task force. At last week’s AGM the RFU Council voted to appoint Genevieve Glover as chair of the diversity and inclusion implementation working group.

We know we are not there yet, and there is a lot to do. Our great game of rugby prides itself on being a community, so let’s challenge ourselves to keep improving that rugby community and make sure that our game offers an equal experience and equal opportunities to everyone.

Sedgley Park are totally committed to the Diversity Policy promoted by the RFU, and this in enshrined in everything we do. We are making every to ensure that our club is open to all, irrespective of age, gender, disability, race, religion or sexual orientation. As a club, we will not tolerate any abuse of indivduals and will endeavour to make our club and commnity welcoming to all. If anyone has any concerns about this, they should contact Shelley Wharmby (s.wharmby@sky.com) for issues in the Youth Section, or myself for any other issues.

However, whilst we think we have everything covered, there are probably things that we can improve further still and I urge anyone who has any ideas on what we can do to improve further to please get in touch with me and offer their ideas.

Steve Ward

Chairman, Sedgley Park

chairman@sprufc.co.uk, 07891-637616

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