The Mark Kendall Bingham Memorial Tournament, or Bingham Cup as it is more widely known, is the biennial world championships of gay and inclusive rugby.
The tournament was first held in 2002 in memory of 9/11 gay rugby hero Mark Bingham, one of the passengers who fought back against hijackers on board United flight 93. While Mark and all on the flight tragically lost their lives when the plane crashed near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, it is widely recognised that through the actions of those brave individuals on board, the plane did not continue on to its intented target.
As a gay man and regular rugby player, Mark played for San Francisco Fog as well as helping to set up Gotham Knights in New York City.
Mark’s legacy sees rugby players, supporters and staff from around the world coming together every two years in a celebration of equality, inclusivity and sportsmanship. 49 teams from 17 countries participated in Bingham Cup Nashville 2016.
The current world champions are the Melbourne Chargers, lifting the trophy for the first time in Nashville, USA.
Previous host cities:
- 2002: San Francisco, CA, USA
- 2004: London, England
- 2006: New York City, NY, USA
- 2008: Dublin, Ireland
- 2010: Minneapolis, MN, USA
- 2012: Manchester, England
- 2014: Sydney, Australia
- 2016: Nashville, TN, USA
The 9th edition of the Bingham Cup will be held in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, the first time that the tournament will take place on the European continent. The tournament will be hosted by the ARC Amsterdam Lowlanders under the auspices of International Gay Rugby (IGR) and Rugby Nederland, the governing body for rugby union in the Netherlands.
Mark Bingham and his mom Alice Hoagland
The Bingham Cup is named in honour of Mark Bingham, a great rugby player and a great guy. He was fundamental in the establishment of two premier gay rugby clubs – the San Francisco Fog and the Gotham Knights. He is also now known internationally as one of the heroes of 9/11. The global gay rugby community are privileged to compete in the Bingham Cup named in his honour.
Mark Bingham, a former University of California, Berkeley rugby star, was instrumental in the establishment of the San Francisco Fog Rugby Football Club. A few months later after the Fog was admitted to the Northern Californian Football Union, Bingham died in the September 11 attacks on board United Airlines Flight 93. He was one of a group of passengers who took amazing measures to attack the hijackers, which eventually led to them crashing the plane into a vacant field in Pennsylvania instead of its targets of Washington, D.C.
At the time of Mark Bingham’s tragic death, only six gay and inclusive rugby clubs existed worldwide. Today there are more than 60 clubs. The Bingham Cup is the global event that promotes rugby union as an inclusive non-discriminatory sport.
In an email to the Fog after their acceptance into their local union, Bingham wrote, “We have the chance to be role models for other gay folks who wanted to play sports, but never felt good enough or strong enough. More importantly, we have the chance to show the other teams in the league that we are as good as they are. Good rugby players. Good partiers. Good sports. Good men.”