Court of Arbitration for Sport dismisses transgender swimmer Lia Thomas' challenge against World Aquatics rules

A panel of judges ruled that Thomas lacks standing to contest the ban on transgender women in elite women's races.

Court of Arbitration for Sport dismisses transgender swimmer Lia Thomas' challenge against World Aquatics rules
AP Photo/John Bazemore
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Lia Thomas, a biological male who identifies as transgendered, has failed in his challenge against rules that prevent him from competing in elite women's races.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) panel of three judges dismissed Thomas' request for arbitration with the World Aquatics governing body, citing that he did not have standing to bring the case, according to a ruling released on Wednesday, the Associated Press reported (via NY Post).

World Aquatics recently implemented a ban on males identifying as women who have undergone male puberty from participating in women's races, while also creating an "open" category for which said athletes would be eligible. Thomas had asked the sports court in Switzerland to overturn these rules, which were approved in 2022, arguing that they were invalid, unlawful, and discriminatory.

Thomas, who swam for the University of Pennsylvania and won an NCAA title in meets outside the World Aquatics competitive system, was not registered within the governing body's framework. The CAS panel concluded that Thomas "lacks standing to challenge the policy and the operational requirements in the framework of the present proceeding."

The judges also noted that USA Swimming had no authority "to modify such scope of application" of the world governing body's rules, further solidifying the decision to dismiss Thomas' challenge.

In response to the CAS ruling, World Aquatics expressed their support, stating that they believe this decision is "a major step forward in our efforts to protect women's sport."

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