The weekend of May 23rd to 26th will see many of the UK’s and Europe’s gay & gay friendly rugby teams visiting Bristol to participate in The Union Cup tournament.
Latest figures suggest that 550 rugby players have registered to take part which is forcasted to benefit the city’s economy by more than £250,000. The Union Cup is a biennial European, amateur, gay rugby union tournament, bringing together teams and joint teams from all over Europe, and is being hosted this year by Bristol’s very own LGBT rugby team – Bristol Bisons RFC during the late May Bank Holiday weekend.
2013 will be the fifth time that the tournament has been held, and will take place at the WISE campus of South Gloucestershire & Stroud College – which was formerly known as Filton College, near Bristol Parkway Station.
The WISE Campus provides a state-of-the-art base boasting professional sports facilities at a £18 million centre. Bristol Rugby base themselves at the WISE campus for much of their pre-season whilst other professional clubs and age grade sides have used the facilities such as Bath Rugby, Doncaster Rugby, England U18s and England Colleges.
David Aird, tournament director, told the Bristol Post “The idea of a gay and gay-friendly rugby club is to provide an accepting environment in which players can develop their sporting potential without fear of prejudice. Hosting the Union Cup here in Bristol has been an opportunity for us to promote that message widely across Bristol and the surrounding area.”
This year is set to be the largest tournament so far, with teams coming from across Europe such as Stockholm, Berlin, Lisbon, Amsterdam as well as around the United Kingdom like Cardiff, London, Birmingham and Manchester.
The tournament kicks-off with a ticket-holder event at At-Bristol on May 23 where the current Lord Mayor of Bristol, Peter Main, will welcome the visiting teams.
Action will commence on May 24 at Wise Campus with a number of game commentaries being broadcast live via Bristol Community FM’s (BCFM), LGBT friendly show ShoutOUT.
As well as talk about the games, there will be interviews with everyone from players to backroom staff around everying on and off the field!
You can find more out about the event at the Union Cup Website