A second major international sports organization has moved to protect women and the integrity of women’s sports.
The International Rugby League announced Tuesday that it was banning transgender women from women’s matches – at least for the time being.
The organization said it was taking a pause on the practice of allowing biological men to compete with, and as women until it drafts a more formal policy.
“It is the IRL’s responsibility to balance the individual’s right to participate – a long-standing principle of rugby league and at its heart from the day it was established – against perceived risk to other participants, and to ensure all are given a fair hearing,” the league’s statement said.
“The IRL will continue to work towards developing a set of criteria, based on best possible evidence, which fairly balance the individual’s right to play with the safety of all participants,” the statement continued.
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The IRL said it would work with select women’s teams to “obtain data to inform a future transwomen inclusion policy in 2023.”
The ban will apply to the league’s World Cup competition in October.
The announcement came two days after FINA, the governing body of international swimming competitions, also banned transgender women from its meets.
FINA will allow trans women who have completed the process by age 12 to continue swimming as women.
James Pearce, spokesman for FINA President Husain Al-Musallam, told the Associated Press, “It’s what the scientists are saying, that if you transition after the start of puberty, you have an advantage, which is unfair.”
“They’re not saying everyone should transition by age 11; that’s ridiculous. You can’t transition by that age in most countries, and hopefully you wouldn’t be encouraged to,” Pearce continued. “Basically, what they’re saying is that it is not feasible for people who have transitioned to compete without having an advantage.”