Football Association resists government pressure to change its transgender inclusion policy

FA flag at Wembley Stadium.
Credit: PA

The Football Association (FA) is resisting government pressure and will continue to allow transgender women to compete in women's football.

Last month, Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer held a summit with several major sporting bodies, including the FA, and called on them to take an "unambiguous position" to ban transgender athletes from competing in female-only events.

The FA has confirmed to ITV News that despite that meeting, if players meet certain criteria, they will be allowed to take part in teams of their 'affirmed gender', rather than their birth sex.

Under its current policy, English football's governing body adopts a 'testosterone suppression' model and considers applications from trans women on a case-by-case basis, assessing the 'safety of the applicant and other players', and 'fair competition'.

Ms Frazer has publicly stated the government's belief that sporting organisations have a 'duty' to women.

While she did not name the FA, she wrote in the Mail last month "It is clear today that several sporting authorities are not going far or fast enough".

Around 70 transgender footballers are among many millions of players who take part in the grassroots game on a weekly basis.

There are currently no transgender women playing in professional football.

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Athletics, cycling, swimming, and rowing are among those sports that have now outlawed trans athletes competing in female-only events.

An FA spokesperson said: "Our current transgender policy has been in place for ten years, and it has helped to enable a very small population of transgender women to enjoy playing football safely in the grassroots game.

"This is a complex and constantly evolving area, and our review remains ongoing as we monitor and support the practical application of our policy."

Over the past decade, the FA has experienced very little negative reaction to its policy on the grounds of either safety or fairness.

That is one significant reason why bosses feel for the time being there is no pressing need to give in to government demands.

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