Georgian National Rugby Team Supports He for She at the European Nations Cup Finals

Date: Saturday, March 19, 2016

On March 19, in front of 52,000 fans at the Tbilisi Dinamo Arena, the national rugby teams of Georgia and Romania have once again expressed their support to the UN Women’s solidarity movement for gender equality – He for She and devoted the most important match of the season to this campaign. Traditionally, the rugby players were accompanied to the pitch by little girls wearing He for She branded t-shirts to sing the national anthems before kickoff.

The national rugby teams of Georgia and Romania have once again expressed their support to He for She; Photo: The Georgian Rugby Union/Gogita Bukhaidze
The Georgia and Romania national rugby teams have confronted each other in a principal match – European Nations Cup finals. The match has attracted exceptional attention and was attended by an unprecedented number of fans – the stadium was filled with over 52,000 people. It is noteworthy that the Lelos have chosen the most significant match of the season to express their support to He for She.

Milton Heig, Chief Coach of the Georgian National Rugby Team, who always supports and is engaged in UN Women’s activities devoted to the cause of ending violence against women and girls, together with the team captain Shalva Sutiashvili, appeared at the pre-match press conference in a He for She branded t-shirt. “Today, all of us – the Lelos, coaches and team’s staff are wearing t-shirts in support of the campaign devoted to ending violence against women and girls and men’s engagement in achieving gender equality. This is to demonstrate that four years ago, as well as now, we –the Lelos, the coaches, the team’s staff and the Georgian Rugby Union stand beside and support this campaign. We want to emphasize and call on all men that any violence against women and girls is unconditionally unacceptable”, he said.

The rugby players were accompanied to the pitch by little girls wearing He for She branded t-shirts; Photo: The Georgian Rugby Union/Gogita Bukhaidze
The match ended with the Georgian rugby players’ triumph 38:9 and at the same time, the Lelos have won the Anthimos Iverieli Cup for the tenth time. Mamuka Gorgodze has earned the man of the match award and he was granted a prize on behalf of the He for She campaign by Gustav Winstrand, First Secretary / Deputy Head of Mission of the Swedish Embassy in Georgia. 

The Georgian Rugby Union has been a long standing partner for UN Women in the framework of the UN Joint Programmef for Gender Equality generously funded by the Swedish Government (implemented by UNDP, UN Women and UNFPA). This cooperation is aimed at increasing men’s engagement in the fight against violence against women and girls. The Lelos have devoted a number of international matches to the cause of ending violence against women and girls in the framework of the UN Secretary General’s UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign and have joined He for She soon after its launch in 2014 at the match between Georgia and Japan national rugby teams, where the tradition of girls accompanying rugby players to the pitch was born with the motto “my team supports me”.