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Fifa to review its gender eligibility regulations in wake of Fina ruling

Fifa to review its gender eligibility regulations in wake of Fina ruling

  • Governing body reacts to landmark decision in elite swimming
  • Fifa to work on ‘case-by-case basis’ until new regulations start

Fifa has confirmed it is reviewing its gender eligibility regulations as world sports governing bodies seek to establish policies that will make their competitions fair and inclusive across the board.

The inadequacy or absence of existing gender policies was brought into sharp focus on Sunday when Fina, swimming’s governing body, voted to bar transgender women from elite female competitions if they have experienced any part of male puberty. In addition, Fina promised to create a working group to establish an “open” category for trans women in some events as part of its new policy.

“Fifa is currently reviewing its gender eligibility regulations in consultation with expert stakeholders,” said a spokesperson. “Fifa thereby takes guidance from many stakeholders [medical, legal, scientific/performance and human rights] as well as the November 2021 IOC framework on fairness, inclusion and non-discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sex variations.

“Due to the ongoing nature of the process, Fifa is not in a position to comment on specifics of proposed amendments to the existing regulations.

“Should Fifa be asked to verify the eligibility of a player before the new regulations will be in place, any such case will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis, taking into account Fifa’s clear commitment to respect for human rights.”

The Football Association’s chair, Debbie Hewitt, has also acknowledged the difficulties in establishing a policy that would ensure the sport remained fair and safe while also respecting the rights of all those who wish to compete. “It is a really tricky subject,” she said.

“We talk about inclusive but it has to be inclusive for everybody and it has to be fair, that’s the line that any sports administrator has to think about”

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