'Homophobia has no place in SA rugby'

The Exclusive Books Jozi Cats have signed a memorandum of understanding, taking a stand against homophobia in rugby.

Members of the Jozi Cats. Picture: Facebook.com

CAPE TOWN – The Exclusive Books Jozi Cats (JCRC) have signed a memorandum of understanding against homophobia in South African rugby.

The JCRC, South Africa’s first gay and inclusive competitive rugby club and Digger’s Rugby Club (DRC), is the first rugby club in South Africa to make this pledge.

The memorandum aims to develop a safe space for rugby players, officials and spectators, and root out discrimination.

The organisation hopes to achieve its goal of inclusion.

“In addition, DRC and JCRC will develop a positive and mutually beneficial relationship based on a shared set of values, work with the Golden Lions Rugby Union (GLRU) and the South African Rugby Union (Saru) to improve tolerance and acceptance of LGBTQI players at all levels within rugby,” the organisation said in a statement.

Digger’s Rugby Club Chairman Riaan Matthys says at the Digger’s club, everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation, is not only welcome, but safe as well.

“Digger’s has a nearly 125-year tradition of going against the grain and standing up for the underdog which is what led to our formation all those years ago. It’s part of our DNA.”

Jozi Cats Chairman Chris Verrijdt has commended Diggers for their initiative.

“They really need to be commended for being such a brave organisation; for taking a standing with us to blow the whistle on homophobia in sport and helping make a lasting change to what is and what isn’t acceptable behaviour and language, both on and off the field.”

Jozi Cats will be playing in the Digger’s annual 7’s tournament on Saturday 16 September 2017 before heading to Babylon, the club in Illovo, to celebrate their second birthday.

All members of the public have been invited to attend all events to support the boys in pink.

“We hope that every club and union in South Africa takes a page from Digger’s book to say that homophobia has no place in rugby, but homosexuals do!” said Verrijdt.