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The International Cricket Council has prohibited transgender athletes from participating in women’s international cricket.

The International Cricket Council recently joined other sports organizations in prohibiting transgender individuals who have undergone male puberty from participating in the women’s elite game.

The ICC said it had taken the decision, following an extensive scientific review and nine-month consultation, to “protect the integrity of the international women’s game and the safety of players”.

Rugby union, swimming, cycling, athletics, and rugby league have all followed a similar route in recent years. They have expressed concerns about fairness or safety, resulting in their decision to join together.

Geoff Allardice, the ICC chief executive, stated that the decision to change the gender eligibility regulations was made after a thorough consultation process. The decision is based on scientific findings and is in line with the core principles established during the review.

Ensuring inclusivity is a top priority for our sport, but our primary concern was safeguarding the integrity of the global women’s game and the well-being of its players.

The recent policy change occurred within two months of Canadian cricketer Danielle McGahey’s participation in an official international match as the first transgender player. The match was a women’s T20 game against Brazil and sparked controversy.

Canada’s Danielle McGahey

The 29-year-old opener participated in all six of Canada’s games at the Women’s T20 World Cup Americas region qualifiers in Los Angeles. She had also represented the national team in non-ICC sanctioned matches prior to this event.

According to the former guidelines of the ICC, which focused on lowering testosterone levels, McGahey met all the necessary requirements. However, the ICC has announced that its updated regulations will prioritize the following principles: safeguarding the integrity of women’s sports, ensuring safety, promoting fairness, and promoting inclusion.

The International Cricket Council stated that individuals who have undergone male puberty, regardless of any medical procedures or gender reassignment, are not eligible to play in the women’s cricket league.

The latest regulation, overseen by the ICC medical advisory committee and headed by Dr Peter Harcourt, applies exclusively to women’s cricket at the international level. Each country will have the freedom to establish their own policies for domestic cricket.

The England and Wales Cricket Board will analyze the impact of the newly implemented ICC regulations on their own policies. A spokesperson from the ECB stated that they are constantly reassessing their transgender policy, taking into account inclusivity, safety, and fairness, and will incorporate the new ICC regulations into their ongoing efforts.

The Football Association is currently attempting to resolve a situation where a transgender player has left the sport due to opposing clubs refusing to compete against her. According to reports, teams have backed out of matches against Rossington Main Ladies, a team based in South Yorkshire, after one of their players, Francesca Needham, caused a season-ending knee injury for an opponent with her shot. Rossington plays in the first division of the Sheffield and Hallamshire Women and Girls League, which is the seventh tier of women’s football in England.

The FA stated that they are collaborating with Sheffield and Hallamshire County FA to reach a solution. They acknowledged that this is a complicated and ever-changing issue and, like other governing bodies in sports, they are reassessing their policy on transgender individuals in English football to ensure that it promotes inclusivity, fairness, and safety for everyone involved.

Based on the FA’s guidelines, individuals who identify as transgender are eligible to request participation in a league that aligns with their affirmed gender. Each application is evaluated individually, taking into consideration equal opportunity for competition and the well-being of the applicant and other players.

“As some of you may have heard, Rossington Main Ladies FC has faced challenges from teams unwilling to play against us while I am on the field,” Needham wrote on Facebook. “This unfortunate circumstance has prompted me to investigate pursuing a case of discrimination, as I believe it represents a breach of the code of conduct regarding diversity and inclusion.

“For the well-being of my team and its members, I have chosen to temporarily retire from playing football. This was not an easy decision to make.”

Source: theguardian.com