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FA urged by government to consider banning transgender women from playing women’s football

todayMarch 19, 2024 2

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FA urged by government to consider banning transgender women from playing women’s football

The Football Association should consider banning transgender women from playing women’s football to remove any “unfair” competitive advantage, Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer has told Sky News.

The policy has been under review by the FA which is trying to balance out the sport being inclusive but also fair and safe.

Players over the age of 16 assigned male at birth wanting to compete in women’s football have to show their blood testosterone levels are “within natal female range for an appropriate length of time so as to minimise any potential advantage”.

Annual checks are required.

But Ms Frazer told Sky News: “I think it’s very important that women are able to compete against women and there’s an inherent unfairness, that if you’re not biologically a woman, you have a competitive advantage.

“And I think a number of sports have looked at this very carefully and come to the decision that it’s not appropriate to have women competing against people who are not biologically women.

“We’ve seen that in rowing. We’ve seen that in swimming. And I would encourage other sporting bodies to look at that very carefully.”

File pic: istock

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Pic: istock

The FA’s current transgender policy is that “gender identity should not be a barrier to participation in football” but eligibility is determined on a case-by-case basis.

Ms Frazer was discussing the transgender policy in light of issues that the football regulator could be asked to intervene on – if the change to football governance passes through parliament.

Asked further if she was urging football to follow other sports who have restricted women’s sport to those female at birth, Ms Frazer said: “I would encourage competitive sport to consider this very carefully.”

Decisions pending

The FA’s chief executive, Mark Bullingham, said earlier this month that they were waiting on international football bodies to decide on any changes to the policy.

Mr Bullingham said: “We’ve had a policy that’s been in place for some time. We have made some changes around that.

“But we are waiting also for UEFA and FIFA to come up with a firm position before we make any other changes.”

FIFA said it has an internal working group exploring the issue, calling it a “work in progress”.

An FA spokesperson told Sky News: “Our current transgender policy has been in place for ten years, and it has helped to enable a very small population of transgender women to enjoy playing football in the women’s game.

“This is a complex and constantly evolving area, and our review remains ongoing as we monitor and support the practical application of our policy.

“We will continue to consult and listen to our stakeholders, including engaging with FIFA and UEFA, who are overseeing their own consultation process, as well as the other Home Nations.”

‘Complex topic’

FIFA secretary general ad interim Mattias Grafstrom said: “We want the environment to be safe and inclusive. This is the main priority in all of this. So that’s our priority.

“But keeping in mind all of the circumstances of this particular topic, which is a complex one.”

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World Athletics last year decided to prioritise sporting fairness over inclusivity by excluding those assigned male at birth from competing in female world ranking competitions.

The International Cricket Council also changed its policy last year so male-to-female players who have been through any form of male puberty will not be eligible to take part in the international women’s game regardless of any surgery or gender reassignment treatment they may have undertaken.

Ms Frazer’s deputy, Stuart Andrew, said in a separate interview that they are meeting the national governing bodies from all sports “very soon” to discuss the matter.

Written by: Newsroom

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