CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Charlotte Royals Rugby Club will host its first annual Queen City Crown rugby tournament from Sept. 25-27 at the Rugby Athletic Center, 3722 S. Tryon St.

Six teams from across North American will engage in match play. They are: Charlotte Royals, Charleston Blockade, Nashville Grizzlies, Dallas Lost Souls, Washington DC Scandals and Charlotte Barbarians (comprised of players from Gastonia Gargoyles, Atlanta Bucks, New England Valkyries, Ottawa Wolves, and Newcastle Ravens).

Mayoral candidate Jennifer Roberts will open the tournament.

Activities for the weekend include: registration, meet and greet, captains meeting, tournament play, social time, after party and brunch. Full details are available online.

“This tournament really means a lot to us and other members of Charlotte’s LGBTQ community. It’s our chance to help the fight in breaking down barriers and stereotypes that still exist in athletics, showing the rest of the rugby community that we’re here because we love this game — same as everyone else,” Royals President Mike Hage said.

Admission for spectators is $5.

The key timing for the tournament comes following the USA Rugby and International Gay Rugby (IGR) joint “Memorandum of Understanding” release on May 3. In the document it provides an inclusive framework and agreement between the two organizations to work cooperatively toward athlete education and more. It provides the USA Rugby members with the tools and education necessary to combat discrimination, be it based on sexual orientation, perceived sexual orientation or identification as a way to abolish homophobia in rugby.

USA Rugby recognizes the right of any player, official, coach and spectator to be involved in rugby without bullying, discrimination, or exclusion of any kind and celebrates the differences that make its members unique.

“IGR is very proud of the leadership that USA Rugby continues to show around equality, diversity and inclusion in Rugby. The signing of this agreement is a great example of the commitment of USA Rugby to eliminating homophobia from the sport at all levels. We look forward to our continued partnership in creating a safe and homophobia free environment for all players, proving that rugby is the most inclusive. The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) Sports Project Director Helen Carroll issued a statement on the agreement. Carroll said, “Ending LGBT discrimination in all sports has been one of NCLR’s core missions for 14 years. It’s thrilling to see USA Rugby and International Gay Rugby take these steps to eradicate homophobia in the game. Their efforts will ensure a more inclusive and secure environment for all LGBT rugby players around the world, and we hope other professional organizations in the U.S. and abroad will follow their example.”

Also, for the first time since 2010, The Mark Kendall Bingham Memorial Tournament will be held in the U.S. from May 22-29 in Nashville, Tenn. The Nashville Grizzlies RFC is serving as host. This will be the first time the tourney has been held in the Mid South.


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Lainey Millen

Lainey Millen was formerly QNotes' associate editor, special assignments writer, N.C. and U.S./World News Notes columnist and production director from 2001-2019 when she retired.