Rugby league bars transgender athletes in women′s sport | News | DW | 21.06.2022

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Rugby league bars transgender athletes in women's sport

The sport's authority cited "welfare, legal and reputational risk" for the decision. Over the weekend swimming's world governing body FINA voted to restrict transgender athletes in elite women's competitions.

A woman pictured scoring a try during a rugby match

The International Rugby League said further consultation and research is needed to finalize a new policy for 2023

Rugby league has become the second sporting code this year to ban transgender athletes from women's international competitions.

The International Rugby League said Tuesday that further consultation and research were required to finalize a new policy for 2023, and cited the "welfare, legal and reputational risk" to the game and players for the decision.

Until then, transgender women players "are unable to play in sanctioned women's international rugby league matches," said a statement from the game's global governing body.

"It is the IRL's responsibility to balance the individual's right to participate ... against perceived risk to other participants, and to ensure all are given a fair hearing."

Watch video 01:57

FINA restricts transgender participation in women's events

Sporting bodies tighten policies

The move comes hot on the heels of global swimming body FINA's decision over the weekend to bar trans athletes' participation at the elite level.

FINA voted on Sunday to restrict transgender athletes in elite women's competitions and create a working group to establish an "open" category for transgender athletes in some events as part of its new policy.

World Athletics has also hinted that track and field could also introduce tougher policies on transgender athletes competing in women's events.

Meanwhile, cycling's governing body, the International Cycling Union (UCI), has also toughened its rules on transgender eligibility by doubling the time period before a rider transitioning from male to female can compete.

FINA's decision was slammed by transgender rights groups, while US soccer player Megan Rapinoe, a two-time World Cup winner and an Olympic gold medalist, said it was "disgusting."

ss/kb (Reuters, AFP)