Keighley to incorporate Progress Pride Flag onto playing kits for 2021 season

Ian Laybourn, PA
·2-min read

Keighley Cougars have incorporated the Progress Pride Flag on their playing kits for the 2021 rugby league season as they step up the fight for inclusivity in sport.

The Betfred League 1 club claim to be the first professional sports team in the world to incorporate the design, which includes the traditional rainbow design in addition to black and brown chevrons to represent people of colour, and blue, pink and white to represent the trans community.

The Cougars are believed to be only the second professional sports club in the world, following MLB franchise Chicago Cubs, to have openly gay owners in Ryan O’Neill and Kaue Garcia.

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O’Neill’s father, Mick, who spearheaded the rise of Cougar-mania in the 1990s, returned as chairman to rescue the club from hard times in 2019 and introduced Ryan, 42, and his 35-year-old Brazilian husband as part of the new ownership team.

The club then committed to inclusivity and equality for all when they hosted a Pride Game against the West Wales Raiders in July 2019 at Cougar Park, which was also a first for professional sport.

A spokesman said: “Keighley Cougars are committed to inclusivity and equality for all people and will continue to hold inclusive events.”

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The forward-thinking West Yorkshire club have also revealed plans to pay their own tribute to Keighley-born Sir Tom Moore by depicting the late fundraiser on a new gate to be installed at one of the entrances to Cougar Park.

Moore died earlier this month, aged 100, after capturing the nation’s hearts with his NHS-fundraising during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The gate project and installation are the latest in a long line of refurbishment and redevelopment work to take place at Cougar Park in anticipation of the return of fans when the season begins in May.