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Thursday June 20, 2024

World Netball bans transgender players from women’s internationals

By Reuters
April 10, 2024
Australias Sophie Garbin evades Englands Geva Mentor during the Netball World Cup final. — AFP/File
Australia's Sophie Garbin evades England's Geva Mentor during the Netball World Cup final. — AFP/File 

SYDNEY: World Netball has banned transgender players from international competition with immediate effect under a new participation and inclusion policy issued on Monday.

The global governing body of what has traditionally been, and remains at an international level, a women’s sport said it had undergone a lengthy consultation before issuing the policy. “Following detailed review of the science and consultation with experts and members, it has determined that international level women’s netball is a gender affected activity and that a policy is required (to) ensure fairness and safety at this level of our sport,” World Netball said in a statement.

“World Netball believes that the research on which it has relied is robust, it comprises many research studies, all of which have been published in peer-reviewed journals and come from multiple distinct research groups around the world.”

Global governing bodies for cricket, cycling, athletics, swimming and chess have all tightened their participation rules for transgender athletes in elite women’s competitions over the last couple of years.

The netball policy pertains only to international competition and WN said national governing bodies could choose to “modify or even not apply these guidelines” if they decided to base their participation rules on other factors.

Critics of transgender inclusion in women’s sport say going through male puberty imbues athletes with a huge musculo-skeletal advantage that transition does not mitigate.

LGBT advocacy groups say excluding trans athletes amounts to discrimination and that not enough research has been done into the impact of transition on athletic performance. WN will review the policy on an annual basis.

“World Netball is committed to evidence-based decision making and commits to evaluating any emerging evidence that pertains to elements of the policy,” the statement added.

“This includes any high-quality research that is published, and which will inform a formal review of the policy.”