World Rugby is considering banning men from playing women’s rugby because of safety concerns and the risk of legal action.
A report commissioned by the sport’s governing body said there is “significantly increased risk” of injury when a female player is tackled by a male who identifies as a woman.
The recommendation comes after World Rugby reviewed its transgender policies and found the current practice: “not fit for purpose”.
‘Clear safety risk’
World Rugby says that the latest research shows that a reduction of testosterone “does not lead to a proportionate reduction in mass, muscle mass, strength or power” and presents a “clear safety risk”.
The report notes that biological males are “stronger by 25%-50%, are 30% more powerful, 40% heavier, and about 15% faster” than females.
World Rugby’s working group has distributed the draft guidance to national governing bodies for consultation.
Dr Nicola Williams, Director of Fair Play For Women, said that World Rugby had shown “bravery and integrity” by addressing the issue “head on”.
“They created the opportunity for open, transparent, and respectful dialogue on a politically sensitive topic combined with rigorous data analysis.”
She added: “World Rugby are trailblazers setting the gold standard for how all sports should approach this; evidence-based policy making that delivers inclusion where possible but always safety first.”
Last year it was revealed that rugby referees are quitting the sport over fears that allowing trans men to play in women’s teams will lead to serious injuries.
Refs were told they could not challenge ‘bearded players’ playing in women’s matches.