World Rugby has revealed that it will host a forum in London next week which will decide future policy on trans players’ right to participate in the game.
In a statement, the organisation said it was consulting with “expert voices” as well as the global women’s game ahead of the forum.
“We are pleased to announce that Fair Play For Women will be attending this important 2-day meeting. Dr Nicola Williams will asking World Rugby to protect the female sex category to guarantee fairness, safety and access to Rugby for women and girls,” the group wrote on Twitter.
World Rugby trans policy currently follows the International Olympic Committee.
World Rugby said it currently follows the same policy as the International Olympic Committee (IOC) but said it would now be conducting a review in order to come up with its own policy.
Under the IOC’s current policy, trans women can compete in sport if their testosterone level in serum is kept below 10 nanomoles per litre for at least 12 months.
The forum is unlikely to spell good news for trans women in rugby. In a statement, World Rugby said: “With 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 has not revealed a full line-up of expert voices participating in the forum.
If the organisation decides to reduce the allowable testosterone level, trans women could be pushed out of the sport entirely.
Rugby boss insists forum will determine if current policy is ‘appropriate for all participants.’
The organisation has said that the forum will be attended by experts and leaders in sport science, biology, medicine, ethics and law, who will decide on allowable testosterone limits in rugby. They will also discuss “the current sporting and societal landscape” at the event.
“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,” said World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont.
“Rugby is no different and this forum makes it possible to explore the best available evidence and hear the relevant expert opinions,” he added.
Beaumont said that the review would determine whether current policies are “appropriate for all participants” in rugby.
“Importantly, we are undertaking an extensive consultation process that includes obtaining the perspectives of players who will be directly affected by this policy in both elite and community rugby. This is important in achieving transparency and buy-in,” he said.