Men will no longer be able to compete in female only angling events, the sport’s governing body in England has announced.
Angling Trust chief executive Jamie Cook said the organisation had changed policy in recognition of the fact that male strength ‘impacts fairness’.
Earlier this year, half of England’s ladies’ angling team quit in protest from the Home Nations shore fishing championship after it was announced that a man who lives as a woman had been selected.
Under the National Governing Body’s updated policy, female only events – both nationally and internationally – are now restricted “to participants whose sex at birth is female and whose gender is identified as female on the date of competition”.
The Angling Trust acknowledged that angling “has a huge number of success factors, including technique, watercraft, knowledge, tactics, focus, rig creation, bait or fly application, and adaptability”.
But concluded, following an evidence-based review, that “inherent strength, size, stamina or other physical attributes could provide an advantage that needs to be considered in relation to fairness”.
The organisation stated: “We consider competitive angling has the potential to be sufficiently gender-affected to the extent where the need to be fair overrides the desire to be inclusive.”
In June, the Trust justified the inclusion of biological male Becky Lee Birtwhistle Hodges in the national team for the Home Nations shore fishing championship on the grounds that, as angling is a non-contact sport, Hodges’ presented no significant safety concern.
Transgender competitors are ruining our sport
As defending gold medallists, team captain Heather Lindfield said it had been a difficult decision for three women to withdraw from the competition.
However, she explained: “This is an advantage to our team, but we find it totally unfair to other nations.
“Transgender competitors are ruining our sport, and the Angling Trust will not listen to our views, so this is why myself and the team decided to pull out.”