The governing body for cricket announced new regulations Tuesday that will prevent transgender women from competing in international matches, joining other sports like swimming and rugby with similar restrictions.
The International Cricket Council said Tuesday that “male-to-female participants who have undergone male puberty” will be ineligible to compete in international matches “regardless of any surgery or gender reassignment treatment they may have undertaken.”
The new “gender eligibility regulation” does not apply to domestic cricket leagues, whose governing bodies will have to decide whether to apply similar regulations, the ICC said.
Restrictions were approved by ICC’s board members for the “protection of the integrity of the women’s game, safety, fairness and inclusion,” the organization said.
Geoff Allardice, the ICC’s chief executive, said the regulations resulted from “an extensive consultation process and is founded in science,” adding the organization’s priority was to “protect the integrity of the international women’s game and the safety of players.”
Details from the ICC’s nine-month consultation process were not disclosed in its announcement (the ICC did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Forbes).
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The English and Wales Cricket Board told the Guardian that it will review how the ICC’s regulations will impact its policy, which requires transgender women to apply for written clearance before being allowed to compete.
The ICC previously required transgender women to show decreased levels of testosterone for a yearlong period and sign a “written and signed declaration” that the athlete’s gender identity is female. The ICC’s regulations were similar to the International Olympic Committee’s policy, which suggests there is no assumption that transgender women would have an “unfair and disproportionate advantage” over other athletes. A decision to restrict transgender women from competing in international cricket matches comes two months after Canadian Danielle McGahey became the first transgender cricketer to play in an international match.
Other sports have restricted or banned transgender women over the last year. Cycling’s governing body announced in July transgender women would no longer be able to participate in women’s events to “ensure equal opportunities.” World Athletics issued restrictions on most transgender women in women’s track and field events in March. Last year, the International Rugby League banned transgender women from competing in sanctioned women’s rugby matches.” Sports like swimming have established “Open” categories, allowing competitors whose gender differs from their birth sex to participate. The International Chess Federation released new policies prohibiting transgender women from competing in women’s events in August. Most sports with restrictions argue transgender women have an unfair physical advantage over other athletes. Meanwhile, some GOP-led states have sought to bar transgender women and girls from school sports, a move that has drawn criticism.