World rugby chiefs to review transgender policies

By AFP: Friday, February 21st 2020 at 17:15 GMT +3 | Rugby
World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont will oversee a review of the policy on transgender players. [Courtesy]

World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont has revealed the sport's governing body will carry out a wide-ranging review of their policies relating to transgender players.

Keen to establish clear guidelines on the controversial issue, World Rugby is consulting with experts and the global women's game ahead of a London summit next week.

The issue of trans women competing in women's sport has become a thorny debate.

World Rugby, the game's governing body, said research suggests a reduction of testosterone does not lead to a proportionate reduction in strength and power and that it is important for contact sports to take into consideration player welfare.

"There is growing recognition of the importance of autonomy of gender identity in society, and all sports are currently evaluating their policies to ensure that they are fit for purpose in the modern sporting and societal landscape," Beaumont said.

"Rugby is no different, and this forum makes it possible to explore the best available evidence and hear the relevant expert opinions."

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Several high-profile female athletes including Martina Navratilova, Kelly Holmes, and Paula Radcliffe have spoken out about the possible damage to women's sport of allowing potentially more powerful trans women to compete.

World Rugby is asking elite players for their views via a questionnaire.

"We are committed to exploring the evidence from experts in the field of biology and medicine, together with insights provided by leading legal, ethical and social minds, to determine whether the current guidelines are appropriate for all participants," Beaumont said.

"Importantly, we are undertaking an extensive consultation process that includes obtaining the perspectives of players who will be directly affected by this policy in both elite and community rugby."

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