Transgender players will be banned from international netball

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World Netball has relied on “robust” research to determine a ban on transgender players from international competition with immediate effect will form a key plank of a new participation and inclusion policy.

The global governing body made the ruling after a review and lengthy consultation as other sports around the world tighten their participation rules for transgender athletes in elite women’s competitions.

There are no transgender players in the Australian Super Netball competition and therefore none in line for promotion to the Diamonds in the immediate future.

But the ban means they won’t be allowed to represent their country should a transgender star emerge.

“Following a detailed review of the science and consultation with experts and members, it has determined that international 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 in a statement.

“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.”

The netball policy pertains only to international competition, and national governing bodies would be given the option to “modify or even not apply these guidelines” should they choose.

LGBTQI advocacy groups have been critical of total bans on transgender athletes as a form of discrimination.

World swimming officials chose to create an “open” class at recent world championships for transgender athletes, but none came forward to compete.

The netball policy will be reviewed annually and could be changed pending any developments in research.

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

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