Pool player in transgender row ‘gutted’ after bid to join pro tour is snubbed

Lynne Pinches - Pool player in transgender row ‘gutted’ after bid to join pro tour is snubbed
Lynne Pinches refused to play a transgender opponent - Jason Bye

The pool player who forfeited her chance to win a top national title over transgender rules says she has been snubbed in an 11th-hour attempt to join the professional tour.

Lynne Pinches told Telegraph Sport in November that she had turned down an invitation to play full-time for the first time amid her despair at an about turn in international rules.

However, after fellow players persuaded her to tell authorities she would accept the offer after all, the Ultimate Pool Tour has not included her in the latest draw.

Pinches said on Sunday night that she was “absolutely gutted” that she had not been offered a route back to taking on the game’s top 32 players.

“I did inquire about getting it back in November as I kept having second thoughts swaying from one decision to the other,” she said. “I asked the tournament director ‘if I put my deposit back, could I have my spot back?’ He said ‘I would have to wait and see if any of the others turned down theirs’.”

She said two players subsequently “didn’t take their spots but I was not offered it back”. Pinches says “every day” has been stressful since she was catapulted into the international spotlight in November after packing up her cue and refusing the final of the Ladies Champions of Champions. Her opponent, Harriet Haynes, picked up the trophy by default.

Pinches, who still received £500 as tournament runner-up in the English Pool Association event, is among a groundswell of female players left devastated after a redrafting of restrictions. Players claim they had received assurances that trans women or non-binary players would be stopped from competing against females. However, the World Eightball Pool Federation and Ultimate Pool Group instead stated last month in new guidance that “transgender and non-binary players will be able to participate in the women’s series”.

The Telegraph reported last week how lawyers acting for four complainants in the sport have now submitted a “letter before claim”, accusing the governing bodies of subjecting those born female to “direct sex discrimination and harassment on the grounds of sex”.

The challenge against pool’s lack of restrictions could be the first in the UK to test the provisions for female-only sport in the Equality Act 2010, with the complainants contesting an about-turn in October over new rules excluding trans women from the female category.

The following month, Pinches was cheered by spectators when she packed up her cue. The concession by Pinches was followed by another a week later by Jo Hobday, who has joined her in her fight along with Frankie Rogers and Holly Cann.

The letter of claim has been bankrolled via a campaign on, the world’s crowdfunding platform for legal action, that has so far raised more than £20,000 of the £30,000 the group estimates is needed to launch an Equality Act challenge.

Sharron Davies, the Olympian swimmer and campaigner for women’s sport, previously said pool was another example of a sport failing to put safety and fairness before inclusion.

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