Worlds First LGBT Rugby League Club Launches in Manchester

Publish Date: 25/02/2013

A World First

MCR Canalsiders ARLFC are the World's first LGBT Rubgy League club and their motto is 'One Club For All'. They aim to be a fully inclusive rugby club and enable anyone who wants to take up and continue playing rugby the opportunity and facilities to do so.

MCR Canalsiders will be setting up a Women's team, a Mixed Touch Rugby, and a Men's Team.

At their official launch on Sunday 24th February at Salford City Red's new stadium in Eccles, Martin Owens, Chair, comments "We look forward to bringing the sport to the wider LGBT commnuity and hope that our commitment spurs others on to set up more LGBT league clubs across the UK and Worldwide"

Sarah Williams, RFL Equality and Diversity Manager commented "We now begin a new era in Rugby League with the launch of Manchester Canalsiders. We hope the club will go from strength to strength and that their work contributes to the RFL commitment to ensure our game is truly inclusive".

Support from Sporting Legends

Sporting legends have also spoken out in support of Manchester Canalsiders with former Welsh dual-code international Gareth Thomas, the first openly-gay rugy player lending his support.

Ben Cohen, 2003 rugby union world cup winner, also sent a message in solidarity commenting "..acceptance into Rugby League can only benefit the sport as a whole".

Homophobia in Sport Still Rife 

Lou Englefield from Pride Sports highlighted sobering research from The National Union of Students' (NUS) Out in Sport report which revealed only a third of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) students at college or university participate in organised team sport, with 37.8% of those saying they are not open about their sexuality with their teammates.

According to Stonewall (2009) research 70% of football fans have heard anti gay abuse at football matches in the last 5 years.

She went onto say that work that still needs to be done in the UK to tackle homophobia and transphobia in sport and there is a great need for clubs like the Manchester Canalsiders.


Find out More

If you would like to find out more about the Manchester Canalsider, or join their team visit their website; find them on facebook: or follow them on twitter; @MCRCanalsiders