Rugby: French club Biarritz Olympique announces gay dating app Grindr as jersey sponsor

French rugby club Biarritz Olympique have announced a bold new sponsorship partner – the world’s largest gay, bi, trans, and queer dating app.

The second-tier club, which takes part in the ProD2 league, has sold its primary jersey sponsorshipto Grindr which will display its name front and centre, accompanied by the cheeky placement of its logo on the back of the playing shorts.

While the deal is reportedly expected to net the club €4m ($NZ6.7m) over four years, it is also part of a wider campaign by the club to counter homophobia within the sport.

In a statement shared online, the club said it had pledged to “participate in the fight against homophobia” and “to have committed to Grindr to continue its action for inclusion and acceptance at the level of its league and rugby”.

Former All Blacks centre Francis Saili is one of three New Zealanders in the club’s squad that also includes former Otago players Adam Knight and Gavin Stark.

A survey in 2020 by English rugby club Harlequins, in partnership with Australia’s Monash University, found that 69 per cent of male rugby players had heard their teammates using homophobic slurs in the previous two weeks.

Controversial cross-code player Israel Folau was sacked by Rugby Australia in 2019 for homophobic social media posts and is currently embroiled in a fight between a local rugby league club in Queensland and his French Super League club for the right to return to Australian sport.

Grindr is estimated to be worth $NZ851m and is used by more than 13 million people in more than 200 countries. The company includes outreach and support for its communities as part of its operations.

“Grindr for Equality is an ever-evolving mission to help LGBTQ people around the globe. Our wide-ranging initiatives impact communities large and small on issues that matter to them the most: safety, sexual health, advocacy, and more.”

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