Safety risks could lead to re­forms of trans­gen­der rules

World Rugby re­view could prompt ac­tion across sports Re­search shows lesser ef­fect of testos­terone re­duc­tions

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Sport - By Tom Morgan and Gavin Mairs

Bri­tain’s big­gest sports are open to the prospect of re­fin­ing leg­is­la­tion on trans­gen­der com­peti­tors, it emerged last night, af­ter a World Rugby re­view high­lighted safety risks in the women’s game.

Cricket, foot­ball and sev­eral other do­mes­tic sports are un­der­stood to be go­ing through con­sul­ta­tion over re­forms, as ex­perts and in­ter­na­tional fed­er­a­tions un­der­lined the need for new “made-tomea­sure” rules at na­tional lev­els.

Rugby is clos­est to an­nounc­ing dra­matic re­forms, af­ter a World Rugby re­view of its trans­gen­der poli­cies, which al­low trans women to play women’s rugby if they lower testos­terone lev­els for at least 12 months in line with In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee guide­lines, found they were “not fit for the pur­pose”.

World Rugby says re­search con­firmed a re­duc­tion of testos­terone “does not lead to a pro­por­tion­ate re­duc­tion in mass, mus­cle mass, strength or power” and pre­sented a “clear safety risk” when trans­gen­der women play women’s contact rugby.

The Eng­land and Wales Cricket Board, mean­while, con­firmed it was con­sult­ing other sports and gen­der health ex­perts about pos­si­ble changes. Only at in­ter­na­tional level in Eng­land do all women play­ers need to have testos­terone lev­els be­low a cer­tain fig­ure. How­ever, last year Cricket Aus­tralia announced that testos­terone lev­els would be tested in non-pro­fes­sional leagues. “There are no con­crete plans to change our pol­icy, how­ever given the way this keeps evolv­ing, it is something that might hap­pen in the future,” an ECB source said.

In English foot­ball, any trans­sex­ual or trans­gen­der per­son wish­ing to play in their af­firmed gen­der can seek to do so by con­tact­ing the Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion to ob­tain clear­ance. “The ap­pli­ca­tion will take the form of a con­fi­den­tial conversati­on with the ap­pli­cant and details of the ev­i­dence that the FA would re­quire will be dis­cussed with the per­son con­cerned,” the FA said in 2014.

The FA also said it was con­tin­u­ing to work with Gen­dered In­tel­li­gence, an or­gan­i­sa­tion which helped the gov­ern­ing body de­vise its 2014 trans­gen­der pol­icy. “We will con­tinue to work with them to pro­vide ad­di­tional in­for­ma­tion to sup­ple­ment the trans people in foot­ball guid­ance and re­view the pol­icy as part of good gov­er­nance,” an FA state­ment added.

Sport­ing bod­ies pre­par­ing for Tokyo 2020 are also in­volved in con­sul­ta­tion, but will not an­nounce any changes un­til af­ter next sum­mer’s post­poned Games.

In rugby, trans men will be al­lowed to play men’s rugby, pro­vided they have un­der­gone a phys­i­cal as­sess­ment and have signed a con­sent form.

Draft guide­lines have now been drawn up and dis­trib­uted to the na­tional gov­ern­ing bod­ies for con­sul­ta­tion ahead of the World Rugby coun­cil meeting in Novem­ber, mak­ing it the first in­ter­na­tional sport­ing fed­er­a­tion to do so.

World Rugby says it re­mains com­mit­ted to ex­plor­ing al­ter­na­tive par­tic­i­pa­tion av­enues for trans­gen­der ath­letes, in­clud­ing non-contact forms of the game.

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