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Transgender players have been banned from women’s union and rugby league in England. Rugby Union (RFU) and Rugby Football League (RFL) amended their rules to only allow players appointed by a woman at birth to participate in women’s matches.
The new guidance will apply to six transgender women registered to play in England.
The Council of the RFU voted to update its gender participation policy for the 2022/2023 season: 33 in favor, 26 against and two abstained.
“It was a complex and difficult decision and the policy change was not taken lightly or without careful and complete research and consultation.” advice said in a statement on Friday.
After a two-year review, the governing body voted in favor of a complete ban on transgender women from women’s rugby in England, a change from the previous policy. In 2019, the RFU assured transgender women of their inclusion and released rules that all transgender players must follow before they can play rugby.
“The RFU Board has determined that until further additional peer-reviewed scientific evidence is available, a precautionary approach is appropriate to ensure fair competition and the safety of all participants,” the statement reads.
He has consulted extensively studied scientific evidence and sought advice from other sports organizations before voting on politics due to safety and fairness concerns.
“There are physical differences between those people who were originally recorded as male and those who were female at birth, and the strength, endurance, and physique benefits brought about by testosterone and male puberty are significant and persist even after testosterone suppression.” RFS said.
The RFL Board has also approved a new gender participation policy that will come into effect next month and be reviewed by November 2024.
“For all Rugby League contacts from players aged 12 and over, there will be a female-only category where players will only be allowed to play in the gender category originally registered at birth,” the RFL said in a statement. “Non-contact rugby league … and wheelchair rugby remain mixed and accessible to all without any gender eligibility criteria.”
World rugby banned last year transgender players from competing at the elite level of the women’s games, citing security concerns.
The world governing body for athletics and football, FIFA, is among many sports federations reviewing their rules for the participation of transgender athletes following the decision by global swimming organization FINA to ban anyone who has passed male puberty from participating in elite women’s competitions.
RFU President Jeff Blackett said many people will be disappointed by the decision, but it is “based on all available scientific evidence.”
The RFU added that it had also considered the merits of the individual assessment process, but that it was no longer a viable option due to “difficulties in identifying a reliable test for assessment”. physiological variables.”
Transgender players whose birth gender is listed as female may still play in the male category if they provide written consent and undergo a risk assessment.
The RFU announced that they have contacted registered trans female players “to offer their support in continuing to encourage them to participate in the sport.”
Reuters contributed to this report.