International Rugby League sets out stance on transgender players

Rugby League’s international governing body has set out its stance on transgender players, with trans women unable to play in the women’s World Cup this year.

International Rugby League say that currently “male-to-female (trans women) players are unable to play in sanctioned women’s international Rugby League matches”.

There is currently no policy across sport on the issue – last year, for example, the International Olympic Committee said it was for individual sports to decide their own rules.

Last week swimming’s world governing body, Fina, passed a policy to prevent transgender athletes from competing in women’s competition.

IRL have now taken a similar stance but stressed that they wish to complete “further research” in order to implement a new policy from 2023 onwards.

They say they will use the upcoming World Cup to “obtain data to inform a future trans women inclusion policy”.

“The IRL reaffirms its belief that rugby league is a game for all and that anyone and everyone can play our sport,” they added.

“It is the IRL’s responsibility to balance the individual’s right to participate – a long-standing principle of Rugby League and at its heart from the day it was established – against perceived risk to other participants, and to ensure all are given a fair hearing.”