Cricket Australia Commits to Stamping Out Homophobia in Sport

Updated: 10 May 2015 11:31 IST

The research, to which Australian Cricket contributed a large number of respondents, uncovered widespread homophobic behaviour, particularly in youth sport and among fans.

Cricket Australia Commits to Stamping Out Homophobia in Sport
File photo: Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars vice-captain and openly gay athlete Alex Blackwell said the results of the study are disappointing but that she is encouraged by the action sports are taking. © AFP

Cricket Australia on Sunday, welcomed the release of the Out on the Fields study - the world's first international study on homophobia in sport - and committed to combating the issue through the Pride in Sport Index.

The research, to which Australian Cricket contributed a large number of respondents, uncovered widespread homophobic behaviour, particularly in youth sport and among fans.

In response, Cricket Australia and Australia's other major sports have reaffirmed their commitment to tackle homophobia in sport by joining with Bingham Cup Sydney 2014, Australian Human Rights Commission and Australian Sports Commission to develop a Pride in Sport Index.

Cricket Australia Chief Executive Officer James Sutherland said the study shows sport has work to do to tackle homophobia but is committed to doing so.

"The findings of the study are concerning," Sutherland said.

"But the support of the study by Australian Cricket - and sport more broadly - shows we are eager to better understand homophobia in sport and take action against it."

"There is simply no place for homophobia in society - and in particular sport - and we are committed to eradicating it through better education and training at grassroots level."

The Out on the Fields study was conducted by Repucom and overseen by a panel of seven international experts from six universities, including Melbourne's Victoria University.

Nearly 9500 participants of all sexualities took part, including more than 3000 gay, lesbian, bisexual and heterosexual Australians. The study focused on issues of sexuality in team sports and compared the six major English-speaking countries.

Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars vice-captain and openly gay athlete Alex Blackwell said the results of the study are disappointing but that she is encouraged by the action sports are taking.

"It was disappointing to see that a fear of being bullied and being discriminated against by coaches and officials is keeping so many lesbian, gay and bisexual youth in the closest," Blackwell said.

"Everyone involved in sport must work toward ending homophobic behaviour. Through education and our actions we can tackle the behaviours uncovered through the study."

Cricket Australia has joined forces with Australia's other major sporting codes to combat homophobia in sport as part of the Pride in Sport Index.

Supported by the Australian Human Rights Commission and Australian Sports Commission and undertaken by Pride in Diversity, the Pride in Sport Index is a benchmarking and assessment instrument to identify the shift in inclusiveness within sporting codes in Australia.

Cricket Australia last year signed the Anti-Homophobia in Sport Framework and will later this year release its A Sport for All diversity and inclusion resource, which includes training for Australia's 4000 cricket clubs, to further counter homophobia in sport.

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Topics : Australia Cricket Team Cricket
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