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Tom Jones hit ‘Delilah’ banned from Wales rugby matches due to ‘problematic’ nature of song

<i>ITV/Shutterstock</i><br/>Tom Jones'
ITV/Shutterstock
ITV/Shutterstock
Tom Jones' "Delilah" will no longer be played at Welsh rugby matches.

By George Ramsay, CNN

Choirs have been banned from performing Tom Jones’ hit “Delilah” during Wales’ international rugby matches at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff due to the song’s “problematic” nature, the UK’s PA Media reported.

The lyrics of the 1960s hit, which was taken off the half-time entertainment list at the Principality Stadium in 2015, allude to a woman being stabbed by her jealous partner.

The Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) and Principality Stadium only announced this week that the song has been removed from the venue’s playlist.

“Delilah will not feature on the playlist for choirs for rugby internationals at Principality Stadium,” a Principality Stadium spokesperson said, according to PA Media.

“Guest choirs have also more recently been requested not to feature the song during their pre-match performances and throughout games,” the spokesperson added.

“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.”

CNN has contacted the WRU, the Principality Stadium, and a representative for Jones for comment.

In 2014, Jones, who did not write the song but recorded its most popular interpretation, told The Independent that he “love[s]” to hear “Delilah” sung at rugby games and that it makes him “very proud to be Welsh.”

Welsh supporters have a long history of singing at sports events, including rugby games.

“I think if they’re looking into the lyric about a man killing a woman, it’s not a political statement,” Jones said, according to The Independent. “It’s just something that happens in life that it’s [a] woman [who] was unfaithful to him and he just loses it.”

The 82-year-old Jones is one of Wales’ best-loved performing artists and rose to fame in the 60s with hits that include “It’s Not Unusual” and “Green Green Grass of Home.”

Last month, a BBC investigation made allegations of sexism and discrimination at the WRU, with Charlotte Wathan, the former general manager of Welsh women’s rugby, claiming there was a “toxic culture” of sexism at the organization.

Following the allegations, Steve Phillips stepped down from his role as WRU chief executive and was replaced by Nigel Walker on an acting basis.

On Friday, WRU chair Ieuan Evans announced the formation of a new external taskforce to investigate the federation’s culture and behaviors.

Wales winger Louis Rees-Zammit appeared to criticize the decision to ban “Delilah” from the Principality Stadium in light of the sexism allegations, writing on Twitter on Thursday: “All the things they need to do and they do that first….”

Wales begins its Six Nations campaign, the Northern Hemisphere’s premier international rugby competition, against Ireland on Saturday.

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