Transgender people will not be able to participate in women’s international rugby league matches until a “full inclusion policy”announced on Tuesday, June 21, the International Rugby League (IRL), which leads international rugby league.
Until this policy is finalized, “players changed from male to female cannot participate in women’s international rugby matches”the IRL said in a statement.
This announcement comes two days after that of the International Swimming Federation (FINA) which decided to set up a “open class” to allow transgender athletes to compete separately. Under these rules, the men’s competition would be open to all. On the other hand, athletes who were born male and became female will only be able to compete in FINA women’s categories, or set female world records, if they became female before puberty.
The FINA decision came as the swimming world was rocked by a controversy over American transgender swimmer Lia Thomas. The 22-year-old student, born male, had become the first transgender swimmer to win a university title in the spring. His victory in mid-March in the final of the 500 yards (457 meters) had opened a wide debate, his detractors believing that having competed as a man in the past, Lia Thomas benefited from an unfair physiological advantage. .
“Anyone can practice our sport”
IRL authorities have said they need further consultation and research to finalize a new policy for 2023, citing a “legal, reputational and welfare risk” game and players. They cited the decision taken in 2021 by the International Olympic Committee, which lets each sport determine how athletes could have a “disproportionate advantage”.
“The IRL reaffirms its belief that rugby league [à XIII] is a game for everyone and everyone can play our sport”, she said. The IRL felt that it had a responsibility to balance each player’s right to participate against the perceived risk of other players, as well as “to ensure that everyone receives a fair hearing”.
Athletics is also wondering
International Athletics Federation President Sebastian Coe said his “responsibility is to protect the integrity of women’s sport”concerning the rules regarding transgender athletes participating in women’s events.
“If we need to adjust the protocols in the future, we will”he added, specifying that if he was forced to choose between ” equity “ and ” inclusion “he would line up “always on the side of fairness”.
Sebastian Coe, present on Sunday at the world swimming championships currently taking place in Budapest, commented on the decision of the International Swimming Federation to create an “open category” to allow transgender athletes to compete separately.
“We see an international federation that asserts its supremacy in establishing the rules, regulations and policies that are in the best interests of its sport,” did he declare. “That’s how it should be. We have always believed, and we constantly repeat this, that biology trumps gender and we will continue to review our rules accordingly. »
According to the rules of the International Athletics Federation, transgender women must have sufficiently low testosterone levels for at least twelve months before a competition.
The governing body said it is working with the eight finalists of the Women’s Rugby League World Cup 2021 for a “future policy for the inclusion of transgender women in 2023”taking into account the ” unique characteristics “ rugby league.