ECB allows middle-aged man to play cricket against 12-year-old girls

Parents and coaches were outraged after a middle-aged man, who claims to be a woman, was allowed to compete in club cricket matches against girls as young as twelve.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) said it is reviewing its policy which currently requires men to be “accepted in the gender in which they present” and allows them to “compete in any female-only competition, league or match”.

But the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) made it clear that it is lawful for a sporting body “to restrict participation by sex, gender reassignment or age” in the interest of “fair competition or the safety of competitors”.


The Daily Telegraph reported that the player in question has already caused injuries to an umpire and an opponent. Several parents have threatened to withdraw their daughters from the league.

Six first-class counties are also demanding answers. One county said that it had been pressing for concrete changes to the policy for three years, only to be referred to literature from the controversial LGBT lobby group Stonewall.

Former Home Secretary Priti Patel, a keen cricket fan, called the ECB’s policy “shameful”, saying: “The safety of women and girls should NEVER be compromised.”

Fair Play For Women’s Fiona McAnena said the UK Sports Council’s Equality Group state “clearly that fairness and safety for women and girls are compromised if trans-identifying males are in female teams”.

UK athletics

Earlier this month, UK Athletics (UKA) issued a statement calling for “a change in legislation that will provide clarity for all and ensure the women’s category can be lawfully reserved for female-at-birth competitors”.

Its chairman Ian Beattie said: “Athletics is an incredibly inclusive sport and we want it to be a welcoming environment”, but, “at the same time, we also have a duty to ensure fairness in competition in the women’s category”.

Sports Minister Michelle Donelan called senior executives from the national sports governing bodies for a meeting to discuss the issue.

Sources close to the Minister said she believes the “basic biology” of athletes needs to be considered to “preserve the key value of sporting competition – performing on a level playing field”.


Following the UKA’s statement, the EHRC said its interpretation of the Equality Act 2010 is inaccurate and at odds with the EHRC’s position that transgender athletes with a Gender Recognition Certificate can be lawfully excluded under the “sporting exemption”.

The sports clause permits discrimination on the grounds of gender reassignment in a “gender-affected activity”.

The Act defines a “gender-affected activity” as a sport where “physical strength, stamina or physique of average persons of one sex would put them at a disadvantage compared to average persons of the other sex”.

Section 195 (2) then additionally permits organisations to discriminate on grounds of gender reassignment where this is necessary to secure:

  • Fair competition; or
  • The safety of competitors


Pro-surfer Bethany Hamilton spoke out against World Surfing League’s rule change that will allow biological males to compete against women.

The 32-year-old Christian surfer, who lost her left arm in a shark attack as a teenager, said she would stop competing under the new rules.

Also see:


Study indicates trans women outperform women in sport

Sporting Council: ‘Safety and fairness cannot co-exist with trans inclusion’

International sports bodies strengthen protections for women’s sport

Sharron Davies: RFU inaction puts ‘female athletes in danger’

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