Transgender policies could alter after hormone research The Times 23.08.19

The original article is here.

Rugby and other sports may have to reassess their policies on transgender players after evidence has emerged that muscle strength stays relatively high after hormone treatment, according to a scientific consultant for World Rugby.

The issue of transgender women playing in female sports is becoming increasingly controversial. This week, it was revealed that a transgender rugby player is aiming to play in a Welsh women’s league this season, with her coach joking that she has injured several team-mates in training.

Most rugby unions now have policies that players who were born male and now identify as female must have testosterone below 5nmol/litre for at least a year.

Ross Tucker, a South African who carries out research for World Rugby, said recent findings of which he has been made aware indicate that the testosterone suppression may not be enough to create equal physiques. “Sports are going to need to move with a lot more caution, especially in those such as rugby where there are player-welfare issues,” he said. “There is evidence now that when males transition to female and undergo testosterone suppression, they do not lose that much strength.”

Women’s rights groups are unhappy about the situation. In cricket, Maxine Blythin plays for Chesham Second XI men’s team, where she averages 15.1 with the bat, and St Lawrence & Highland Court women’s team, where she averages 123 and is targeting a place in the England’s women’s team.

Nicola Williams, of Fair Play For Women, said: “Opening up the women’s game doesn’t advance inclusivity but instead excludes females from their own game to make room for males. The ECB needs to review its policy.”

Chairmen split on divided loyalties
The new chief executive of the EFL will have their hands full in dealing with the fallout from the Bury and Bolton Wanderers crises.

Leading contenders for the job, which paid £418,000 last year, are understood to include Andy Ambler, the former Millwall chief executive who is now the FA’s director of professional game relations, and Jim Rodwell, a former non-League defender who is the Scunthorpe United chief executive and has been an EFL representative on the FA board.

One possible disadvantage with these candidates is they have club affiliations, something that dogged Shaun Harvey during his time in charge — he was a former chief executive of Leeds United and Bradford City. Club chairmen are split on the issue — some favour an appointment from outside football, while others believe it helps to have someone who knows the game.

Headhunters axed
The Premier League, meanwhile, has effectively gone back to square one in its search for a chief executive and the clubs have written off having someone in post before Christmas. The failure to find the right person to succeed Richard Scudamore — himself a former EFL chief executive — has led to the league appointing a new firm of headhunters, Russell Reynolds, instead of Spencer Stuart.

Cosy arrangement
The interview that the BBC secured with Josh Kroenke, an Arsenal director and son of owner Stan, was a bit of a scoop . . . so much so that the club ran the transcript of the interview on their website. The transcript warned that all quotes had to credit Arsenal.com. So why do they have the copyright and not the BBC? Arsenal arranged it with the BBC on the understanding that they would share the content.

Best foot forward
The Rugby Football Union’s official kit partner is Canterbury, but it has been noticeable that the head coach Eddie Jones, plus his coaching and management staff, have all been wearing adidas trainers over the past couple of weeks. An RFU spokesman said it did not have a paid commercial deal with adidas, but that the sportswear manufacturer had agreed to supply the organisation with the shoes.

Hurry for Hundred
There is expected to be huge demand for the 24 overseas-player places in cricket’s new tournament, The Hundred, which starts next season, with more than 200 applications expected. Each of the eight teams involved is limited to a maximum of three overseas players and there are different wage bands ranging from £60,000 to £160,000 for the five-week tournament.