To coincide with the start of LGBT history month, Manchester Canalsiders Amateur Rugby League Club have unveiled their plans to create the first ever teams specifically aimed at the LGBT community.
Club founders Stan Sandland, Martin Owens and Kenny Mahoney have outlined their ambitions to set up full-contact male and female teams, alongside a mixed touch rugby team, aimed at making their competitive debuts in 2014.
The Canalsiders have a full calendar of plans in place for the 2013 season dedicated to developing skills and training programmes and building up a team of supporters through try-it sessions, training, fundraising and social outings to Rugby League matches such as Magic Weekend and the Rugby League World Cup in October and November.
Manchester Canalsiders Chairman Martin Owens, said:
“We all love the fast pace and excitement of the game and were inspired by the work the RFL and the clubs have done around LGBT inclusion to set up the first LGBT Rugby League club.”
“We hope that the Manchester Canalsiders will help raise the profile of the sport among the LGBT communities and that more gay and trans people will take part in this fantastic sport as players, coaches, volunteers and supporters.
“Our club motto is One For All, as our club will be fully inclusive to all members of our LGBT community, so whether you want to play or just get fit with likeminded people we look forward to welcoming you to our club.”
RFL Equality and Diversity Manager Sarah Williams continued:
“The Rugby Football League (RFL) is delighted to support the Manchester Canalsiders in providing a unique opportunity for LGBT people to get involved in our sport. We hope that the club will go from strength to strength and that their work contributes to the RFL commitment to ensure our game is truly inclusive and welcoming to all.”
Lou Englefield, from Pride Sports concluded:
“Pride Sports is delighted to support the UK’s newest LGBT sports club, Manchester Canalsiders RLFC. It’s fantastic to see a growing diversity of sports offered within the LGBT community. I’m sure the club can expect a great welcome from the RFL and the Rugby League family, who have been championing the campaign against homophobia in sport for a couple of years now.”