World Rugby have reiterated their commitment to making rugby a ‘sport for all’ and are considering altering their transgender policy.
The governing body’s current regulations remain a grey area, but chairman Bill Beaumont confirmed World Rugby has begun consulting with leading experts ahead of holding a forum next week which will discuss new rules which could be introduced.
How definitive the guidelines will be remains to be seen, with a World Rugby statement claiming to follow the IOC’s policy which itself is currently indeterminate.
Draft proposals for the IOC’s transgender policy on male-to-female athletes failed to reach an agreement last September, as the Olympic organisation hurriedly attempts to define its guidelines ahead of the Tokyo Olympics this summer.
World Rugby conceded it was a complex area but that its mission of inclusivity would need to fall in line with upholding player welfare.
A statement read: “World Rugby is consulting with expert voices and the global women’s game ahead of a ground-breaking forum next week that will pave the way for a comprehensive review and evidence-based commitment to rugby’s policies relating to transgender players, reflecting its mission of inclusivity while promoting player welfare.
“The latest research suggesting that a reduction of testosterone does not lead to a proportionate reduction in strength and power, it is important for contact sports, such as rugby, to find an appropriate position for player welfare and risk.”
World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont added: “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. Rugby is no different and this forum makes it possible to explore the best available evidence and hear the relevant expert opinions.”
During last autumn’s Rugby World Cup in Japan, World Rugby pushed its ‘Keep Rugby Clean’ anti-doping campaign, where players from competing countries donned t-shirts during warm-ups and attending public events.
Examining the biological profiles of transgender rugby players will be a topic for discussion at the World Rugby forum, as the body pursues new regulations which are ‘appropriate’ and ‘good for all’.
World Rugby chief medical officer Éanna Falvey said: “Sports organisations and the medical community alike appreciate that this is a complex area to negotiate. It is especially complex in a contact sport where size, strength and power can be influential.
“By bringing together the world’s leading experts for the first time at our forum we will be able to consider all evidence, considerations and viewpoints as we move towards developing an updated policy that is proportional, appropriate and good for all.”
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