World Netball bans transgender players from women’s internationals

World Netball bans transgender players from women’s internationals
Emily Moore shoots during a 2024 Suncorp Team Girls Cup match between the Thunderbirds and the Firebirds at Ken Rosewall Arena in Sydney, Australia, on 24 March 2024. (Photo: Mark Metcalfe / Getty Images for Netball Australia)

The issue of transgender athletes competing in women’s sport has been blocked by netball’s authority.

World Netball has banned transgender players from international competition with immediate effect under a new participation and inclusion policy issued on Monday.

The global governing body of what has traditionally been, and remains at an international level, a women’s sport said it had undergone a lengthy consultation before issuing the policy.

“Following detailed review of the science and consultation with experts and members, it has determined that international level women’s netball is a gender-affected activity and that a policy is required (to) ensure fairness and safety at this level of our sport,” World Netball said.

“World Netball believes that the research on which it has relied is robust, it comprises many research studies, all of which have been published in peer-reviewed journals and come from multiple distinct research groups around the world.”

Global governing bodies for cricket, cycling, athletics, swimming and chess have all tightened their participation rules for transgender athletes in elite women’s competitions over the past couple of years.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Cycling-British federation announces tighter rules around trans, non-binary athletes

Read more in Daily Maverick: World Athletics Council bans transgender women from competing in female sports events

The netball policy pertains only to international competition and World Netball said national governing bodies could choose to “modify or even not apply these guidelines” if they decided to base their participation rules on other factors.

Critics of transgender inclusion in women’s sport say going through male puberty imbues athletes with a huge musculoskeletal advantage that transition does not mitigate.

LGBT advocacy groups say excluding trans athletes amounts to discrimination and that not enough research has been done into the impact of transition on athletic performance.

World Netball will review the policy annually.

“World Netball is committed to evidence-based decision-making and commits to evaluating any emerging evidence that pertains to elements of the policy,” it added.

Read more in Daily Maverick: How world sport got into a mess over trans athletes – and how it can get out of it

“This includes any high-quality research that is published, and which will inform a formal review of the policy.

“World Netball has been considering this issue for some time. A gender-affected activity is activity in which the average strength, stamina and physique of one Sex (female) will put them at a disadvantage compared with the other Sex (male).

“It is important to note that this policy relates to International Level Women’s Netball Competition. Netball remains a sport that is open to all and World Netball will continue to support the development of competition structures that embrace the whole of society.” Reuters/DM


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Sean Venske says:

    Win for the ladies. Set up a separate league / competition for the LGBQT community, only logical answer to stop the bollocks female athletes are being subjected to. There’s clearly enough support within certain countries / communities to make it financially viable.

  • Gavin Knox says:

    It should never have been even considered from the start, it’s out and out cheating, and certainly disgusting to allow a biological man play in a woman’s team, or compete in woman’s sports of every discipline… pure idiocy…


    Good outcome. No doubt there will be push back from the LGBTQ+ community. However I find it strange that the LGBTQ community are not raising concerns on the lack of transmen entering male competitions….is it because they know transmen (woman) don’t have a fighting chance against athletic men….(tongue in cheek). If you were to put up the Springboks against a Transmen rugby team…who would win…

  • Agf Agf says:

    Jolly good show. Trans women do not belong in women’s sport. It is cheating. They are not women they are trans women. They should compete against other trans women.

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