World Netball bans trans athletes from international competition

A group of women playing netball

World Netball has banned trans athletes from international competition following a review.

On Monday (8 April), World Netball released its updated policy on “participation and inclusion”, with changes that will be implemented with immediate effect. 

In 2022, World Netball launched a review into how and if trans athletes could compete in its tournaments. 

Following the review, the body has ruled that trans athletes are banned from participating in international level women’s netball competitions. 

Non-binary athletes who were recorded female at birth, and who haven’t had testosterone, are still able to participate at international level.

The global governing body said that outside of international netball: “Netball remains a sport that is open to all and World Netball will continue to support the development competition structures that embrace the whole of society.” 

It noted that the conclusion was made following a “detailed review of the science and consultation with experts and members.”

The review found 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”. 

It added: “World Netball believes that research on which it has relied is robust, it comprises many research studies, all of which have been published in peer-reviewed journals and come from multiple distinct research groups around the world”. 

The governing body has said it will review its policy on a rolling basis, with a formal review annually, or sooner if needed. 

From netball to athletics, national and international governing bodies are throwing the future of trans athletes’ participation in sport into chaos as they launch “reviews” into trans eligibility rules or ban them altogether.

In May, Labour leader Keir Starmer said he supports a ban on trans women competing in women’s sports.

His comments followed a number of major sporting federations, including Badminton England, British Rowing and Swim England, barring trans women from competition.