Manchester Village Spartans RUFC is obviously shocked and saddened that one of our players was the victim of a homophobic attack on 1st November 2014. It is all the more shocking that this happened on Canal Street, which is supposed to be a safe haven for LGBT people.
We are heartened by the messages of support we have received, especially the Rugby Union fraternity to which we belong. The Spartans have played in local Manchester league for a decade now and we are pleased that we have been well received by the rugby community in Greater Manchester and further afield.
Although massive strides have been made since the team was formed in 1999 it is apparent that some people’s attitudes have not changed and homophobia is still rife in some parts of society.
As we have seen over the last couple of weeks, with the attacks on Jake Heaton and Jean Claude Manseau (also on 1st November) and the homophobic abuse suffered by referee, Nigel Owens at the England v New Zealand rugby game, some people’s attitudes are still a long way from where we would hope.
Over the last 16 years, the team has strived to challenge stereotypical attitudes towards gay people and we have worked closely with organisations such as the Lesbian & Gay and the Rugby Football Union (RFU) to change stereotypical attitudes towards LGBT people.
Notes to Editors
The Manchester Village Spartans RUFC is Manchester and Northwest England’s gay and inclusive rugby union football team based at Sale Sports Club, Manchester.
The club is a full member of International Gay Rugby Association and Board (IGRAB), and in 2012 it hosted the Bingham Cup, the international gay and inclusive rugby championship.