Rugby league has made a ruling on transgender athletes, banning them from competing in this weekend’s Test matches and the upcoming women’s World Cup, which will be held concurrently with the men’s event in October and November in England.
On Sunday, swimming’s world governing body FINA voted to restrict the participation of transgender athletes in elite women’s competitions. It will create a working group to establish an “open” category for transgender athletes in some events.
The International Rugby League made the ruling on male-to-female players ahead of this weekend’s representative round, a decision that will stand “until further research is completed into the issue.”
“The IRL is continuing work to review and update rules about transgender participation in women’s international rugby league and will seek to use the upcoming World Cup to help develop a comprehensive inclusion policy,” the governing body wrote in a missive to its member nations.
“Until further research is completed to enable the IRL to implement a formal transgender inclusion policy, male-to-female (transwomen) players are unable to play in sanctioned women’s international rugby league matches.
World soccer’s governing body FIFA and World Athletics are also reviewing their transgender eligibility policies after swimming passed new rules that restrict transgender participation in women’s events.
Sebastian Coe, president of World Athletics, said his organization’s council would discuss transgender regulations at the end of the year.
Coe praised FINA’s decision, which has been criticized by trans rights advocates.
“We see an international federation asserting its primacy in setting rules, regulations and policies that are in the best interest of its sport,” he told the BBC.
A spokesperson for FIFA said it had also started a consultation process over a new policy.
“FIFA is currently reviewing its gender eligibility regulations in consultation with expert stakeholders,” said the spokesperson.