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PRIDE 'first' for Rugby League in West Yorkshire home of Keighley Cougars


Rugby League's Keighley Cougars are bringing a festival vibe to a July match day with their first ever PRIDE game, celebrating the movement's 50th anniversary and supporting the fight against homophobia. The Cougars will sport a specially-designed PRIDE kit chosen by their supporters for a League One fixture in what the club believes is a first for the Rugby Football League (RFL) in the UK.

The club's owners are confident the colourful PRIDE party they have organised around the match will rekindle the Cougarmania which helped sweep the team to glory back in the early 1990s.

Co-owner Ryan O'Neill and his Brazillian husband Kaue Garcia will be joined by special guests including former glamour model Katie Price for the PRIDE Party & Festival, RFL's first-ever event of this kind in the UK.

Ryan, son of Cougarmania founder Mick O'Neill who is back in the driving seat at the club, said: "This will be a real celebration for our loyal supporters and volunteers and a party to put the club back on the map. We want to show our community that everyone is welcome at Cougar Park, and to share the passion we have for the club which has been through some tough times.

"We plan to put the club at the heart of our Keighley community and our RFL family, making it as accessible, inclusive and fun as possible. We want to be the club to watch, the one challenging perceptions of the sport, and the one that sets the standards and gets everyone talking like Cougarmania did 30 years ago."

David Connor, RFL equality and diversity lead said: "Rugby League has been breaking down social barriers for more than a hundred years and this is another important milestone. We pride ourselves on genuinely being a sport for all and Keighley are to be congratulated for actively demonstrating the inclusivity of our game.

"Equality of aspiration, access and opportunity is vital to the future of Rugby League. Our sport needs to address all forms of inclusion and diversity - ethnicity, sex, gender, disabilities, sexual orientation - together and Keighley are making an important contribution to this."

Former glamour model Katie Price, who this month relaunched her music career, will headline the PRIDE Party & Festival on 14 July when a vibrant line-up of entertainers will add more than a touch of sparkle to Cougar's clash with Welsh Raiders at Cougar Park.

"The PRIDE event is the perfect showcase for the club's newly-refurbished hospitality areas including the VIP bar, the Hall of Fame urban bar, and the President's Suite," added Ryan, who is proud to be part of the team hoping to bring Rugby League glory back to their hometown.

"The PRIDE festival will be another milestone in the history of our team, our town and our beloved sport. We're sending a clear message in support of the movement to kick discrimination out of sport and we're inviting like-minded people in our community and beyond to stand with us on the day," he said.

The Keighley Cougars PRIDE Game Party & Festival is on Sunday 14 July, from 1pm until late. The match against the Welsh Raiders from Llanelli starts at 3pm, with a pre-match performance by Katie Price of her new single, Hurricane.

Tickets for the festival are £10, concessions £5 and children under 14 are free. This includes entertainers, BBQ, food stalls and live music. Tickets are available from the website

Tickets for the VIP bar where guests will mingle with Katie Price are £35 (Prosecco with Price). Tickets for Sunday Lunch with Katie Price in the President's Suite are £50. Tickets are available online Alternatively, please contact the Keighley Cougars Events Team for further information and to reserve your place: email or call 01535 606044.

Keighley Cougar PRIDE shirts (£35) and socks (£5) can be purchased from the club's website.