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01st Feb 2023

Welsh Rugby Union bans choir from singing ‘Delilah’ at Six Nations matches

Charlie Herbert

There are concerns over the song’s lyrics.

The Welsh Rugby Union has decided to ban the song ‘Delilah’ from being sung by a choir at the Principality Stadium during the Six Nations.

The Telegraph reports that the Tom Jones song has been banned by the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) due to concerns about the song’s lyrics. The song is about a jealous lover stabbing his unfaithful partner.

The WRU has found itself under intense scrutiny after a BBC Wales Investigates programme unearthed allegations of sexism and misogyny within the union.

Wales face Ireland and England at home in rounds one and three respectively, alongside trips to Rome, Edinburgh and Paris.

Earlier this week, ITV News showed the Guernsey Welsh male voice choir rehearsing ‘Delilah’ before their appearance at Wales’s match against England on February 25.

It is understood the footage spooked Welsh Rugby officials though, who have since instructed their enlisted choirs not to perform the ballad.

A Principality Stadium spokesperson said: “Delilah will not feature on the playlist for choirs for rugby internationals at Principality Stadium. The WRU removed the song from its half-time entertainment and music playlist during international matches in 2015. Guest choirs have also more recently been requested not to feature the song during their pre-match performances and throughout games.

“The WRU condemns domestic violence of any kind. We have previously sought advice from subject matter experts on the issue of censoring the song and we are respectfully aware that it is problematic and upsetting to some supporters because of its subject matter.”

In an apparent response to the ‘Delilah’ ban, Welsh star Louis Rees-Zammit tweeted: “All the things they need to do and they do that first….”

For several years now, the WRU has not played the song, which reached No 2 in the British charts in March 1968, over the Principality Stadium public address system ahead of kickoff.

But the hit remains a favourite among fans and has still been regularly performed and sung by choirs and fans alike at Wales games.

In 2014, former Plaid Cymru president Dafydd Iwan called for ‘Delilah’ to be banned because it depicts the brutal revenge killing of a woman. Jones defended the song though, saying that it is “not political” and is about a man “just losing it.”

He said: “I love to hear it sung… it makes me very proud to be Welsh. The great thing about the song I think that everyone picks up on is the chorus, I don’t think that they are really thinking about it.

“I wasn’t thinking that I was the man that was killing the girl when I was singing the song, I was acting out the part and that’s what the song is.

“If it’s going to be taken literally like that then I think it takes the fun out of it, I think it takes the spirit out why it’s being sung.”

In a statement at the time, the WRU added: “Within rugby, ‘Delilah’ has gained prominence through its musicality rather than because of its lyrics.

“There is however plenty of precedent in art and literature, prominently in Shakespearean tragedies for instance, for negative aspects of life to be portrayed.”

Over the weekend, WRU chief executive Steve Phillips resigned following the allegations of misogyny, sexism and racism within Welsh rugby’s governing body.

Two women have complained of a “toxic culture” during their time at the organisation, while another former employee heard a racist term used in a work meeting.

The former head of Wales women’s rugby Charlotte Wathan said she considered suicide as a result of her treatment and claimed that a male colleague openly joked in front of colleagues about wanting to “rape” her.

The WRU says that particular accusation was independently investigated and remains unsubstantiated and it cannot comment further due to a legal settlement.

Performance director Nigel Walker has taken over as acting CEO of the WRU, admitting that Welsh rugby is facing an “existential crisis.”

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