In a major policy decision, the ICC on Tuesday banned cricket players who have undergone any form of male puberty from participating in international women’s football competitions, regardless of whether they have undergone surgery or gender reassignment treatment.
The ICC said it was making the decision to protect the integrity of international women’s football and the safety of players. In a statement, the ICC said: “The ICC Board of Directors has approved new gender eligibility rules for the international game following a nine-month consultation process with the stakeholders of sport.
“The new policy is based on the following principles (in order of priority), protecting the integrity of women’s football, safety, fairness and inclusion, and this means that any male to female participant who has crossed A form of male puberty will not be eligible to participate in international women’s football, regardless of any sex reassignment surgery or treatment they may have undergone.”
Gender reassignment and treatment has been a hotly debated topic in the athletic world for years. ICC reached this decision during its board meeting in Ahmedabad on Tuesday. When asked what the trigger was for the ICC to bring about this change, a source said it was due to “the inclusion of cricket in the 2028 Olympics”.
“Since cricket will be an Olympic sport, it must be governed by the Olympic guidelines. This gender issue is important globally. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has changed the regulations and advised sports to implement regulations adapted to their sport, and that’s what we did,” said an ICC source.
World Athletic (WA), the governing body for athletics and other running competitions, had also banned transgender women, who have reached male puberty, from participating in women’s events at international competitions. The policy came into effect on March 31, 2023.
WA also ruled that to compete as a woman, athletes must have a testosterone level below 2.5 nanomoles per liter (nmol/L) for at least 24 months before an international competition.
South African runner Caster Semeneya was unable to compete for precisely this reason, as her testosterone levels were above the prescribed limit.
World governing bodies for cycling (UCI) and swimming (FINA) have also introduced the same regulations to their sport, while World Rugby bans trans women in international women’s rugby outright.
The ICC, while tightening gender eligibility rules for international women’s cricket, has left the issue at the national level in the hands of member boards.
“The review, which was conducted by the ICC Medical Advisory Committee chaired by Dr Peter Harcourt, focuses solely on gender eligibility in international women’s cricket, while gender eligibility at the national level falls under the jurisdiction of each individual member council, which may be influenced by local decisions. “The legislation will be reviewed within two years,” the ICC said.
ICC chief executive Geoff Allardice said the global governing body reached the decision following “extensive consultations”.
“The changes to the gender eligibility rules are the result of an extensive consultation process and are grounded in science and aligned with the core principles developed in the review.
“Inclusiveness is extremely important to us as a sport, but our priority was to protect the integrity of international women’s football and the safety of the players,” Allardice said.
Meanwhile, the Chief Executives Committee (CEC) has approved a plan to accelerate the development of women’s match officials, which includes equal match-day pay for ICC umpires in men’s cricket and women’s championship, and ensuring that there is a neutral referee in each ICC women’s championship. series starting in January next year.