Crowds attending international rugby matches in Wales at the Principality Stadium will no longer hear choral renditions of the Tom Jones classic Delilah after it was banned by the game’s organizers on Wednesday.
The hugely popular song was dropped from midtime playlists for the first time in 2015 after critics claimed that lyrics depicting a woman being murdered by her jealous partner might offend those with delicate sensibilities.
A spokesman for the stadium told the BBC it was “respectfully aware that it is problematic” and now even Cardiff’s pre-match crowd will be denied hearing from the visiting chants.
The decision follows a week in which the Welsh Rugby Union chief executive was forced to step down, following allegations of sexism, misogyny and racism within the organisation.
Wales winger Louis Rees-Zammit obliquely referenced the decision via Twitter on Wednesday afternoon: “All the things they have to do and they do it first…”
All the things they have to do and do it first….😶
— Louis Rees-Zammit ⚡️ (@LouisReesZammit) February 1, 2023
Others joined him in pointing out the absurdity of banning songs.
Right point on BBC brekkie this morning on banning Tom Jones song Delilah in rugby stadiums: ‘we’re going to ban Bohemian Rhapsody for saying ‘mum I just killed a man’. I wonder if this whole thing is confused with German stadiums banning Schlager’s sexist song “Layla”.
— Regula Ysewijn (@RegulaYsewijn) February 2, 2023
— Martin Budgie Fisher (@FisherBudgie) February 2, 2023
— AMeeGee (@ameegeee) February 2, 2023
A Principality Stadium spokesman told the BBC:
Delilah will not feature in the chanting playlist for rugby internationals at Principality Stadium.
Guest choirs have also recently been asked not to feature the song during their pre-game performances and during matches.
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 are respectfully aware that it is problematic and upsetting to some supporters due to its subject matter.
But Welsh Conservative shadow sports minister Tom Giffard called the decision “wrong”.
“One that amounts to a simple virtue signaling, designed to relieve the pressure the WRUs are currently under,” he said. “Demands to ban the song span at least the last decade, but the WRU has chosen to act now.”
This isn’t the first time rugby fans have been chastised for their love of songs and community singing.
Like Breitbart news reportedthe unofficial anthem of English rugby, Swing sweet chariotwas branded a “cultural appropriation” of a traditional African-American slave song by a US academic in 2017.
Watch below as rugby fans join in singing ‘Swing Low, Sweet Chariot’ at Twickenham:
Josephine Wright, a professor of music and black studies at the College of Wooster in Ohio, told the New York Times: “Such cross-cultural appropriations of US slave songs betray a complete lack of understanding of the historical context in which those songs were created by the American slave.”
The song was first adopted by English rugby fans in 1988 when England beat Ireland at Twickenham following an impressive comeback win.
It has since been sung during matches involving the national team, while artists such as UB40, Ladysmith Black Mambazo and Ella Eyre have released their own rugby-inspired versions.
Los Angeles-based Prince Harry has issued his call for a review of the song’s use in 2020.
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) June 21, 2020
Rugby fans have happily ignored the US academic’s disapproval – and that of Prince Harry – and continue to chant Swing sweet chariot at Twickenham to this day.