Canalsiders - LGBT Rugby League Arrives!


To coincide with the start of LGBT history month, Manchester Canalsiders Amateur Rugby League Club unveiled plans to create the first teams specifically aimed at the LGBT community. The club founders outlined their ambitions to set up full-contact male and female teams, alongside a mixed touch rugby team, aimed at making their competitive debuts in 2014. Reflecting our own traditions of encouraging diversity in sport, here at SCR Foundation we are keen to play our part too. The opportunity to get involved in such an innovative project arose and SCRF jumped at the chance.

Featured in the picture above SCRF staff and Salford City Reds first team players took part in a series of promotions in 2012 to help raise awareness of the club and rugby league in general amongst the LGBT community.

The Canalsiders have a full calendar of plans in place for the 2013 season. Dedicated to developing skills and training programmes, the aim is to build up a team of supporters through taster sessions, training, fundraising and social outings to Rugby League matches such as Magic Weekend and the Rugby League World Cup in October and November.
“We all love the fast pace and excitement of the game and were inspired by the work the RFL and the clubs have done around LGBT inclusion to set up the first LGBT Rugby League club,” said Manchester Canalsiders Chairman Martin Owens.

“We hope that the Manchester Canalsiders will help raise the profile of the sport among the LGBT communities and that more gay and trans people will take part in this fantastic sport as players, coaches, volunteers and supporters.

“Our club motto is One For All, as our club will be fully inclusive to all members of our LGBT community, so whether you want to play or just get fit with likeminded people we look forward to welcoming you to our club.”   

Admiration for the club has been expressed from the RFL, as from other groups. RFL Equality and Diversity Manager Sarah Williams said, “The RFL is delighted to support the Manchester Canalsiders in providing a unique opportunity for LGBT people to get involved in our sport. We hope that the club will go from strength to strength and that their work contributes to the RFL commitment to ensure our game is truly inclusive and welcoming to all.”

Lou Englefield, from Pride Sports said, "Pride Sports is delighted to support the UK's newest LGBT sports club, Manchester Canalsiders RLFC. It's fantastic to see a growing diversity of sports offered within the LGBT community. I'm sure the club can expect a great welcome from the RFL and the Rugby League family, who have been championing the campaign against homophobia in sport for a couple of years now.”

Here at SCRF we are proud to continue our traditions in supporting diversity in sport, and pledge to support the Canalsiders endeavours. Look out for further information on our Salford City Reds Foundation website, Matchday program and for Matchday events over the coming months.

If you would like to get involved with and support the Manchester Canalsiders follow us on Twitter @MCRCanalsiders Facebook or email at

Additionally, for more information on the work SCR Foundation to promote rugby league in the Manchester area please contact Andy at SCRF via