Amsterdam’s gay rugby team the Lowlanders have won the right to host the next Bingham Cup – gay rugby’s world championship – in the Dutch capital in 2018.
The organisation International Gay Rugby (IGR) announced on the weekend the Lowlanders had won a majority of the votes from all sixty of the gay rugby clubs that belong to the IGR, beating bids from Edinburgh’s Caledonian Thebans, London’s Kings Cross Steelers and Toronto Muddy York.
“Our tagline is ‘Prepare for impact’, as impact is what we aim for,” the club said in a statement.
“We will show the world why we love rugby so much, while breaking barriers of homophobia in sport and giving rugby in the Netherlands a huge boost.”
IGR chairman Andrew Purchas, who founded Australia’s first gay rugby team the Sydney Convicts, said the strength of the bids reflects the strength of gay and inclusive rugby around the world.
“The quality of all four bids was exceptional, meeting high expectations that the Bingham Cup tournament provide for excellent rugby and showcase the importance of diversity and inclusion in sport,” he said.
The Mark Kendall Bingham Memorial Tournament has been held biennially since 2002 and is dedicated to the memory of Mark Bingham, the rugby player who helped establish the gay rugby teams San Francisco Fog and the Gotham Knights before his death in the 9/11 terror attacks.
Earlier this year, forty-one teams from around the world competed in the 2016 Bingham Cup in Nashville, Tennessee, to promote rugby union as an inclusive non-discriminatory sport.
Two Australian teams made it to the grand final of the 2016 tournament, with the Melbourne Chargers scoring 20-7 to beat the Sydney Convicts.