Transgender women will be allowed to play women’s rugby in France from next season, the French rugby federation (FFR) announced Monday in a ground-breaking decision that goes against the recommendations of World Rugby.
Rugby union’s global governing body last October banned trans women from the elite women’s game, citing fears of increased injury risks.
World Rugby, however, added that it would be up to individual federations to rule on whether to enforce the policy at grassroots level.
The FFR’s decision means it becomes the first sporting federation in France to give the green light for transgender players to take part in elite domestic competition.
The FFR said the ruling had been made “considering it was time that the practice of rugby falls in line with the life people choose and not that which they are assigned”.
Trans women who have not undergone surgery and therefore are still in the process of transitioning from male to female will be able to play in all official FFR competitions provided they agree to undergo a minimum 12-month hormone treatment. In addition, their testosterone threshold must not exceed five nanomole/litre.
They must also be administratively recognised in their new sex by the civil authorities of their country, the FFR said.
Transsexuals, physically reassigned and recognised in their current sex, can compete in all FFR competitions without any preconditions.