Academics have launched a scathing attack on World Rugby over their recent proposal to ban men from playing the women’s game because of the ‘significant injury risk’.
An official report commissioned by World Rugby recognised that men are stronger, heavier and faster and pose a significant risk of injury to women in a tackle.
It has stood by its findings in the face of the criticism from some academics who labelled the plans discriminatory.
The letter, which has been seen by The Guardian, claimed the ban would be “harmful to trans and gender diverse people”.
However World Rugby issued a robust defence of its research, describing the evidence of increased injury risk as “compelling”.
“While welcoming all contributions, it is simply false to state that the research is not peer-reviewed and insufficient to warrant the approach”, it said.
It added that “numerous published studies” demonstrate the biological advantages of males over females.
LGBT lobby group Stonewall is also campaigning against the influential report.
Stonewall labelled the findings “exclusionary”, whilst remaining silent about the dangers faced by female players.
Campaign and consultancy group, Fair Play For Women, slammed Stonewall’s position, saying: “Sports categories ARE exclusionary. That’s what makes them effective as a category.”
One transgender writer commented: “Trans rights do not include the right for (male) transwomen to plough through (female) women on the rugby field. This is not only unfair, it is downright dangerous.”