Transgender athletes banned from competing in international netball

World netball's new policy imposes ban on players born as males, citing concerns over fairness and safety.

Transgender athletes banned from competing in international netball
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World Netball (WN) has announced a stringent policy prohibiting transgender athletes from participating in international competitions. This decision, effective immediately, is based on extensive research findings sourced from various global research groups.

Citing concerns over fairness and safety, WN justified its decision by asserting the physically demanding nature of international women's netball. The policy, influenced by the size and strength of athletes, aims to mitigate the risk of injury during matches.

While acknowledging the autonomy of competitions below the international level to set their own guidelines, WN emphasised the rigorous physical requirements of the sport at the international level. The policy underscores the importance of agility, strength, and stamina, all of which are deemed crucial for optimal performance in women's netball.

Moreover, the policy contends that the suppression of testosterone levels does not entirely eliminate the physical advantages gained from testosterone exposure at any point in an individual's life. This argument aligns with the ongoing discourse surrounding transgender athletes' participation in sports.

The spotlight on transgender athletes intensified following instances like Lia Thomas, an American swimmer, who transitioned and achieved success in female competitions. Although World Swimming Championships introduced an "open" class for transgender athletes, none participated.

World Netball's new policy will undergo annual reviews, with potential revisions based on evolving research findings. The governing body reaffirmed its commitment to evidence-based decision-making and pledged to incorporate emerging research into future policy evaluations.

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  • By Avi Yemini

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