Scottish Rugby Union bans transgender women from female category

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Rugby ball (Photo by Kai Schwoerer/Getty Images)
Rugby ball (Photo by Kai Schwoerer/Getty Images)

The Scottish Rugby Union banned transgender women from competing in contact rugby in the female category of the sport on Tuesday. 

The English, Irish and Welsh rugby unions had already opted to allow only people born as women to feature in the female version of the game. 

Scotland's rugby chiefs had come in for criticism for failing to follow the same policy as their British neighbours. 

The ban comes into effect on 1 February and follows guidance from World Rugby and the UK-wide Sports Councils' Equality Group. 

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Transgender women could previously participate in the women's game in Scotland depending on the outcome of a "thorough medical process including testosterone tests" prior to registration to play. 

The policy will be reviewed each year, and if any new scientific data and research become available. 

Transgender men may continue to play contact rugby in the men's category provided a risk assessment has been undertaken by their club and the outcome logged with the SRU. 

"We all have a responsibility to look after the participants in our game, with their wellbeing and safety at the centre of everything we do," a statement from the SRU board said. 

"We fully acknowledge this is a difficult and sadly divisive societal issue, and that has been especially apparent over the last few months. Scottish Rugby has been mindful of this and aimed to deal with the issue in a sensitive manner. 

"Inclusion is a bedrock of our sport. Scottish Rugby wishes to be as inclusive as possible and is only imposing such eligibility restrictions based on the guidance provided. 

"Our Gender Participation Policy recognises the need to balance considerations of safety and fairness with our underlying desire to be as inclusive as possible. 

"At this moment in time, Scottish Rugby has opted to make a decision which puts safety first, based on the current research." 


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