FA to be questioned over ‘slow’ transgender ban

FA to be questioned over 'slow' transgender ban
FA to be questioned over 'slow' transgender ban

The Football Association will be summoned by the Government to explain why it has not banned transgender women from the female game.

Stuart Andrew, the sports minister, has announced plans to hold to account the FA and other sporting bodies who were told in 2022 to exclude those who had undergone male puberty from women’s competitions.

Many of those bodies have since done just that but Andrew accused the FA of being “slow” to follow suit – with the Telegraph revealing in November that teams had begun boycotting matches over the issue.

Questioned by the Culture, Media & Sport select committee about a review being carried out by the FA of its trans policy, Andrew said: “There was a roundtable we had with national governing bodies on these issues back in 2022. And we know that some governing bodies have looked at this, taken action, and reviewed against their international bodies’ policies.

“But we recognise there are other bodies that, perhaps, are still being a bit slow. And so it’s our intention to have another roundtable very shortly with them all to see what the progress is. And that will of course, include the FA.

“The Government view, very much, is that fairness and safety are the priority. And they have to be the thing that is really the focus as they develop those policies. It is for each sport, obviously, to develop their own policies because each sport is very different and the impacts will be very different. But that’s why we want to have this roundtable with them to see what progress is being made or hold them to account.

“The other thing is I’m really keen, whatever discussions we have in this, that the temperature in the language is right. We are also talking about individuals here.”

Andrew’s comments come a month after a group of more than 70 MPs and peers wrote to the chief executive of the FA, Mark Bullingham, accusing it of “turning a blind eye” to the issue.

It came after the Telegraph revealed teams in the Sheffield and Hallamshire women’s league had withdrawn from matches against Rossington over their player Francesca Needham, who was involved in an incident which left an opponent with a season-ending injury.

According to the FA’s current policy, transgender players may apply to compete in a league of their “affirmed gender”. It said in November it was working with the Sheffield and Hallamshire County FA to find a resolution regarding the Rossington case.

Needham said at the time she was quitting football for the foreseeable future and pursuing a case of discrimination.