19th March 2021, 12:27 | tackle it
When the 2020 season resumed last August the RFL, Super League, RL Cares, RLWC2021 and a number of clubs – in common with other sports – issued non-political statements in support of the core Black Lives Matter anti-racism message.
Since then, Rugby League has developed TACKLE IT – our game’s own anti-racism, anti-discrimination action plan. The plan sets out how Rugby League will extend its reach and appeal, diversify its talent pool, improve its culture, and actively deal with all forms of discrimination with a specific focus on areas in need of most attention at this time – racial discrimination and inequality.
Also, on resumption last August, a 13-second period ahead of kick-off was created during which players, match officials, coaches and administrators could demonstrate their solidarity with the core BLM anti-racism message in their own way. As with other sports, the approach was player-led and varied among teams and players alike.
As demonstrated by the whole-game approach to developing the TACKLE IT action plan and the setting up of a new Inclusion Board, there is widespread support for building on last season. This includes having the same 13-second window at all league and cup games (Men’s, Women’s and Wheelchair RL).
Before each game kicks off there will be a period of 13 seconds during which players can, if they wish, demonstrate support for the anti-racism message at the core of Black Lives Matter. There are no expectations upon players; this is entirely a matter of individual choice and the RFL asks that players be respected whatever they choose to do.
Increasing inclusion and diversity whilst tackling all forms of discrimination, including racism, is key to the growth and success of Rugby League. The TACKLE IT action plan is sport-wide and sets out specific measures which the sport is taking together to deliver real change.
The RFL is playing its part in delivering the TACKLE IT commitments to make a positive, lasting difference. We are doing so because Black Lives Matter and Rugby League stands in solidarity with players, coaches, match officials, fans, volunteers, staff, and supporters in the struggle against racism and discrimination in sport and in society.