Famous faces to help Sheffield Eagles ‘Tackle IT’
Sheffield Eagles have received support from some famous names as they prepare to face Widnes Vikings in their opening game of the 2011 Co-operative Championship season at Bramall Lane on Sunday March 13.
The Eagles will make history in the game by becoming the first sports team in the UK to wear a playing strip displaying an anti-homophobia message when they take to the pitch in a specially designed kit brandishing the slogan ‘Homophobia: Tackle It!’.
The kit has been joint funded by the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transsexual) History Month and Pride Sports to help support equality and diversity within Rugby League and one of the nation’s favourite broadcasters, Clare Balding, was quick to show her support for the event.
"I am delighted that Rugby League has taken the positive, progressive step of publicly embracing diversity and condemning prejudice,” said Balding. “Rugby League has always been a sport that seeks to involve rather than exclude and I applaud its stance against homophobia. I hope other sports will follow the outstanding example set by The RFL. Congratulations and, on a personal note - thank you."
Balding’s sentiments have been echoed by Scott Haining, one of the stars from the popular television programme Waterloo Road which won the award for best drama at the 2011 National Television Awards, who will be attending the game on the day.
“I feel privileged to be associated with this Rugby League game and the “Challenge homophobia in sport” event with the Sheffield Eagles,” said Haining.
“As an actor, I work within an industry that already has a great awareness and acceptance of LGBT people. Hopefully today’s event will take another step towards raising public awareness of the LGBT community not just within Rugby League, but the whole sporting world.”
Lib Dem politician and junior Home Office minister Lynne Featherstone has also pledged her support to the event.
“Homophobia and transphobia have caused too much harm and ruined too many lives,” said Featherstone. “That is why we all need to join together to tackle this problem. I am delighted to support this fantastic occasion with the RFL and Sheffield Eagles, who are sending an amazing message not only to sports fans but also to children, and society in general, that there is no room for homophobia or transphobia in this country.
“By highlighting LGBT History Month and the work of Pride Sports you are all making a powerful statement that society is changing and together we can make a difference.”
Tickets for Sheffield Eagles’ Co-operative Championship clash with Widnes Vikings at Bramall Lane, Sheffield on March 13 are available from the Sheffield United ticket office (08719951889).
Fans can now also order replicas of the Eagles’ groundbreaking playing shirts from www.eaglespride.co.uk