FA summoned to explain failure to ban transgender players in women’s football

Secretary of State for Culture, Media, and Sport Lucy Frazer at Brisbane Road, home of Leyton Orient Football Club, London
Lucy Frazer wants to press the FA over its stance on trans players - PA Wire/Victoria Jones

The Football Association has been summoned by the Government to explain why it has not banned transgender women from the female game.

The England & Wales Cricket Board will also be held to account next month over its own policy governing those to have been through male puberty during a roundtable arranged by the Culture Secretary.

A day after Lucy Frazer urged the FA and ECB to seriously explore banning trans women from female-only competitions, Telegraph Sport can reveal she has written to sporting bodies asking them to attend a roundtable on April 15 to discuss their approaches to the safeguarding of women and girls in competitive sport at all levels.

She wrote: “This should be a primary consideration for governing bodies. Many sports have taken steps at the elite level to embed these principles in their guidance, but it’s also important that we come together to discuss how these policies are being implemented at the grassroots level.”

Frazer also wrote separately to Sharron Davies, a leading voice in the campaign to ban trans women from female-only sport, following a letter from the swimming icon to the Culture Secretary raising concerns about the issue.

“In August, my department published an updated sport strategy, which was clear and unambiguous on this issue,” Frazer wrote.

“Attempts at trans inclusion cannot come at the cost of competitive fairness and the safety of women and girls. And it is not possible to reconcile self-identification with competitive fairness and safety in every sport, especially where those born male have a physical advantage. This is common sense, and it is government policy. We have consistently pressed national governing bodies to prioritise common sense policies that reflect our position.”

Those invited to next month’s roundtable include sporting bodies that have updated their trans guidance, such as Swim England and British Cycling, as well as those still reviewing their policies, such as the FA, ECB and England Netball.

The transgender policies of both the FA and the ECB have long been under review, with both bodies currently allowing trans women to compete with women subject to certain criteria.

In football, players must show their testosterone levels are “within natal female range for an appropriate length of time so as to minimise any potential advantage”.

The ECB’s guidance currently allows trans women to compete in female competition, saying players should be accepted in the gender with which they identify, albeit with written clearance required in elite competition.

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