Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

IRFU bans transgender women and girls aged over 12 from female contact rugby

The Irish Rugby Football Union will amend its gender participation policy (Donall Farmer/PA)
The Irish Rugby Football Union will amend its gender participation policy (Donall Farmer/PA)

The Irish Rugby Football Union has announced it is to ban transgender women and girls over the age of 12 from playing female contact rugby ahead of the forthcoming season.

The decision to limit women’s contact rugby to players whose sex was recorded female at birth was based on “medical and scientific evidence” and is in line with World Rugby guidance, the governing body said.

A statement from the IRFU said recent research provides evidence of male-born players having “significant” advantages in strength, stamina and physique to those born female due to male puberty, which are “retained even after testosterone suppression”.

According to the the governing body, two registered players in Ireland will be affected by the policy alteration.

They have been contacted to discuss options to remain active in the sport, which include non-contact playing formats, such as tag rugby, refereeing, coaching and volunteering.

Spirit of Rugby manager Anne Marie Hughes, who has worked on policy development in this area since 2014, said: “This is a particularly sensitive area, and it is important that respect is shown to all members of our rugby family and the wider community.

“We continue to stand with the LGBT+ community and, while we accept that today some may feel disappointed in this decision, we want to again underline to them there is a place for everyone in rugby and we can all work together.”

In the men’s game, players whose sex is recorded female at birth may continue to play, subject to providing written consent and a risk assessment being carried out.

The IRFU said it is committed to an ongoing review of the policy as new evidence, research and insights become available.

Moninne Griffith, chief executive of Belong To and co-director of Trans Equality Together, said the decision would have “deep-reaching negative consequences across society”.

“It is openly sending a message to trans people, their families and allies that they are not welcome in the rugby community,” she added.

“It is also setting a dangerous precedent for other Irish sporting organisations to follow their lead in banning trans players.

“We note the IRFU’s values include respect, integrity and inclusivity. This decision flies in the face of these values.”