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FIFA and World Athletics, two international governing bodies for sports, revealed Monday they are reviewing their eligibility rules for transgender athletes.
The news comes after FINA, the international body that governs swimming, enacted a new policy that prohibits from competition transgender female swimmers who experienced any stage of male puberty.
What did World Athletics say?
In light of FINA’s decision, World Athletics — the international governing body for track and field and other running sports — will review its policies, organization president Sebastian Coe told the BBC.
According to Coe, the review will center around the fact that “biology trumps gender.”
“We have always believed that biology trumps gender,” Coe declared, “and we will continue to review our regulations in line with this. We will follow the science.”
“We continue to study, research and contribute to the growing body of evidence that testosterone is a key determinant in performance, and have scheduled a discussion on our regulations with our council at the end of the year,” he explained.
Coe also praised FINA’s decision to take a stand. “This is as it should be,” he said.
Meanwhile, Coe said that World Athletics — if the body is forced to make a judgment between “inclusion” and “fairness” — “will always fall down on the side of fairness.”
“That for me is non-negotiable,” he declared. “The integrity of women’s sport is really, really important here, and we can’t have a generation of young girls thinking there is not a future for them in the sport. So we have a responsibility … maintaining the primacy and the integrity of female competition is absolutely vital, and that’s why we were at the forefront of tabling those regulations that allow as close as you can get to a level playing field.”
Current World Athletics rules permit transgender women to compete against biological women if their testosterone is suppressed below a certain level. FINA had followed the same policy, but changed it because scientific evidence shows transgender women/biological men have an athletic advantage over biological women.
What did FIFA say?
A spokesperson for FIFA, the international body that governs soccer, told Reuters the organization is similarly reviewing its transgender eligibility policies.
“FIFA is currently reviewing its gender eligibility regulations in consultation with expert stakeholders,” the spokesperson said. “Due to the ongoing nature of the process, FIFA is not in a position to comment on specifics of proposed amendments to the existing regulations.