ICC bans transgender cricketers who have gone through male puberty

Ahmedabad: In a major policy decision, the ICC on Tuesday banned cricketers, who have gone through any form of male puberty, from competing in the women’s international game regardless of whether or not they have undergone gender reassignment surgery or treatment.

The ICC said they were making the decision to protect the integrity of the women’s international game and the safety of the players.

In a statement, the ICC said, “The ICC Board approved new gender eligibility regulations for the international game following a nine-month consultation process with the sport’s stakeholders.

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“The new policy is based on the following principles (in order of priority), protection of the integrity of the women’s game, safety, fairness and inclusion, and this means that any Male to Female participants who have been through any form of male puberty. not be eligible to take part in the women’s international game regardless of any gender reassignment surgery or treatment they may have undergone.”

Gender reassignment and treatment has been a hot topic of debate in world athletics for many years. ICC came to the decision at their Board meeting in Ahmedabad on Tuesday.

When asked what prompted ICC to finalize this change, a source said it was because of “cricket’s inclusion in the 2028 Olympics”.

“Since cricket is going to be an Olympic sport, it has to be governed by the Olympic guidelines. This is a huge issue on a global level. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) changed regulations and advised sports to implement regulations appropriate to their sport, and that is what we have done,” said an ICC source.

World Athletics (WA), the governing body for running and track and field and other competitions, has also banned transgender women, who have gone through male puberty, from competing in women’s events at international competitions.

The policy came into effect on March 31, 2023.

WA also ruled that athletes must have a testosterone level below 2.5 nanomolecules per liter (nmol/L) to compete as a woman for at least 24 months prior to international competition.

The South African runner Caster Semeneya was banned from competing precisely for this reason because the level of testosterone in her body was more than the prescribed limit.

The world governing bodies of cycling (UCI) and swimming (FINA) had introduced the same regulation in their sports and there is a complete ban on cross-dressing women in international women’s rugby at World Rugby.

Read | British Cycling bans transgender women from competing in elite women’s events

With the ICC finalizing rules on gender eligibility for women’s international cricket, the issue at domestic level was left in the hands of the board members.

“The review, which was chaired by the ICC Medical Advisory Committee and chaired by Dr Peter Harcourt, relates to gender eligibility for women’s international cricket only, and gender eligibility at domestic level is a matter for each individual Board, and it could be influenced by the local Board. legislation. The regulations will be reviewed within two years,” the ICC said.

ICC Chief Executive Geoff Allardice said the world governing body reached the decision after “extensive consultation”.

“The changes to the gender eligibility regulations were the result of an extensive consultation process based on science and aligned with the core principles developed during the review.

“Inclusivity is extremely important to us as a sport, but our priority was to protect the integrity of the women’s international game and the safety of the players,” Allardice said.

Meanwhile, the Chief Executives Committee (CEC) has endorsed a plan to accelerate the development of women match officials, including equal day’s pay for ICC umpires across men’s and women’s cricket, and ensure that there is one neutral umpire in each ICC Women’s Championship. series from January next year.

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