The biggest ever LGBTQ+ rugby tournament arrives in Birmingham

Graham Robson April 6, 2023

The UK’s biggest LGBTQ+ rugby tournament, the IGR Union Cup 2023, sponsored by Specsavers, Birmingham City University and Birmingham City Council, will arrive in Birmingham at the end of this month with over 47 LGBTQ+ rugby teams and 1,400 players from more than 18 countries competing for the coveted winners’ title over three days of blistering back-to-back rugby.

It is hoped that the rugby festival, considered Europe’s premier marquee inclusive rugby tournament, will build on the success of the Commonwealth Games when it takes place at Perry Barr’s Pavilion Stadium, between April 27 – April 30.

With over 1,000 spectators predicted to be watching the sporting action from the sidelines over the weekend, this year’s tournament will also see the return of the Women’s programme with women from across Europe not only competing in the tournament, but engaging in a masterclass training day taken by Ex-England and World Cup Winning coaches, Graham Smith and Gary Street.

James Anthony, Chair of the Birmingham Union Cup Organising Committee, said; “Birmingham is known for being a progressive and inclusive city – both to live in and work in.  The IGR Union Cup tournament is an opportunity to also show the world that it’s also the number one city to play LGBTQ sports in, too”.

With a central theme of the tournament being One Love, the IGR Union Cup 2023 will be the first time the European LGBTQ+ rugby community and allies has come together in four years having been postponed from 2021 due to Covid. Birmingham is the ninth host city of the tournament and organisers are building on the legacy of the 2019 Union Cup in Dublin.

Gareth Thomas

Gareth Thomas, one of the leading ambassadors of IGR Union Cup 2023, gay rugby icon, commented; “As one of the most important LGBTQ+ sporting events in Europe, I was honoured to get involved in the previous Union Cup which broke down social barriers and bridged together communities across Europe.

“This is such an important, high-profile tournament that really does make a difference. I am proud to be an ambassador for the Union Cup 2023 and breaking down barriers in LGBTQ+ sport”.

To find out more CLICK HERE or HERE or search for IGR Union Cup Rugby on social media.