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Netball Australia rejects world governing body’s ban on elite transgender players

Australia’s governing body for netball has no plans to follow the lead of World Netball and ban transgender players from elite competition.

The global governing body announced on Monday that, under a new participation and inclusion policy, transgender players were banned from international competition, effective immediately.

World Netball (WN) said the decision came after lengthy consultation and review of the research.

“Following detailed review of the science and consultation with experts and members, it has determined that international level women’s netball is a gender affected activity and that a policy is required [to] ensure fairness and safety at this level of our sport,” WN said in a statement.

Global governing bodies for cricket, cycling, athletics, swimming and chess have all tightened their participation rules for transgender athletes in elite women’s competitions over the last couple of years.

WN said national governing bodies could choose to “modify or even not apply these guidelines” if they decided to base participation rules for their competitions on other factors.

Netball Australia (NA) said they had no plans to change their own 2020 policy that welcomed transgender and gender diverse athletes in elite competitions, including Super Netball.

There are no transgender players in the national competition however under WN’s new stance any future players would be ineligible for selection in the Australian Diamonds.

A statement from NA said the body was “proud of its leading transgender guidelines for both community and elite netball”.

“These guidelines are based on a commitment to provide welcoming and inclusive environments for all people to play netball,” NA said on Tuesday.

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NA released its gender inclusion policy in 2020 as part of the Pride in Sport initiative, alongside the AFL and other major sporting codes.

It states that trans and gender diverse people must have a certain level of testosterone measured in their blood over a 24-month period that corresponds to roughly half that of what an average man would have.

Former NA boss Marne Fechner said at the time the policy reflected a commitment to make sure netball was an inclusive place for all people to play.

Transgender and gender diverse players are allowed to participate in community netball competition.