FIFA review transgender rules after swimming change

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FIFA review transgender rules after swimming change

World football’s governing body FIFA and World Athletics announced on Monday they are reviewing their policies allowing transgender eligibility after swimming passed new rules restricting transgender people’s participation in women’s events.

On Sunday, the world swimming governing body FINA voted to restrict the participation of transgender athletes in elite women’s competitions and set up a working group to create an “open” category for them at some events as part of its new policy.

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The new policy states that male-to-female transgender swimmers (transgender women) are only eligible to compete in women’s competitions if “they can demonstrate to the convenient satisfaction of FINA that they have not passed any part of male puberty via the Tanner.” -Beyond Stage 2 (of puberty) or before the age of 12, whichever is later”.

A FIFA spokesman told Reuters that they are in a consultation process on a new policy.

“FIFA is currently reviewing its gender eligibility policy in consultation with knowledgeable stakeholders,” the spokesman said.

“Due to the ongoing process, FIFA is unable to comment on the details of proposed changes to the existing regulations,” the spokesman added.

World Athletics President Sebastian Coe told the BBC the organization’s council would discuss its regulations at the end of the year.

Coe praised FINA for the decision, which was criticized by trans rights advocates.

“We are seeing an international federation asserting its primacy in setting rules, regulations and policies that are in the best interest of its sport,” he told the BBC.

“This is how it should be. We have always believed that biology trumps gender and we will continue to review our regulations accordingly. We will follow the science.

“We continue to study and research and add to the growing body of evidence that testosterone is a key determinant of performance and have scheduled a discussion of our regulations with our council later this year,” he added.

FIFA said it is taking advice from medical, legal, scientific, performance and human rights experts, as well as the position of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

“Should FIFA be asked to review a player’s eligibility to play before the new regulations come into effect, such a case will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis, taking into account FIFA’s clear commitment to respecting human rights,” said the President spokesman said.

Last year, the IOC issued a “framework” on the issue, leaving the decision on admission to individual sports federations, but adding that “until evidence indicates otherwise, athletes should not be viewed as having an unfair or disproportionate competitive advantage based on their gender differences, appearance and/or transgender status”.

Current World Athletics rules limit testosterone levels at some women’s running events to five nanomoles per liter (5 nmol/L) for transgender athletes and for competitors with gender development differences (DSD).

Coe said it was important to protect the integrity of women’s sport.

“When push comes to shove, when it comes to inclusion and fairness, we will always fall on the side of fairness – that’s non-negotiable to me.

“We cannot have a generation of young girls who think there is no future for them in sport. So we have a responsibility… upholding the primacy and integrity of women’s competition is absolutely vital,” he added.

Last week, the International Cycling Union (UCI) tightened its rules on transgender participation, extending the low-testosterone transition period to two years and lowering the maximum allowable testosterone level.

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