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England’s rugby codes ban trans women from competition from under-12s

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England’s Rugby Football Union (RFU) and Rugby Football League (RFL) will restrict transgender participation in the domestic game, with the governing bodies recommending that only players recorded as female at birth be allowed to play in the women’s category.

The RFU said last week that it began a review of its existing policy in 2020 with a survey that got more than 11,000 responses.

It claimed to have held extensive consultations, studied scientific evidence and sought guidance from other sporting bodies before voting on the policy amid safety and fairness concerns, with 33 in favour, 26 against and two abstaining.

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“The RFU council has determined that until such time as new further peer-reviewed science is available, a precautionary approach is appropriate to ensure fair competition and safety of all competitors,” it said in a statement on Friday.

The RFL board also approved its new gender participation policy, which will take effect next month and be reviewed by November 2024.

“For all contact rugby league from under-12s and above, there will be a female-only category, in which players will only be permitted to play in the gender category of the sex that was originally recorded at birth,” the RFL said.

“Non-contact rugby league … and wheelchair rugby league remains mixed-gender and available for all without any gender-based eligibility criteria.”

World rugby last year banned transgender players from competing at the elite level of the women’s game, citing safety concerns.

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