Parents blast FA transgender policy that allows boys to play ‘girls-only’ football tournaments

A teenage girl standing in goal during a football game
Parents have voiced concern about the possibility of their girls 'playing against boys' - SolStock

Organisers of “girls only” football tournaments have adopted a Football Association transgender policy that allows boys who identify as female to play.

London Youth Games (LYG) competitions follow a policy that permits anyone under 18 to take part in girls’ matches provided they meet the age criteria.

FA rules also do not specifically prohibit boys who identify as girls from using communal female changing and shower facilities.

The entry information and rules for the LYG Girls Football 2024, which takes place on June 9 between teams selected to represent London boroughs, describe the event as “Girls Only”.

Available online, those rules also state: “The London Youth Games Girls Football competition will follow the Football Association Policy on Trans People in Football.”

A link to that policy contained within the text was broken on Thursday.

LYG Girls Football 2024 has two age categories, Under-13 for 11-13 year olds and U15 for 13-15 year-olds.

Someone describing themselves as a parent of two girls selected to represent Merton in each age category approached the Telegraph Sport out of concern about the possibility of them having to “play against boys”.

The parent added: “To add insult to injury, the link to the FA’s policy is actually broken, which surely demonstrates that they don’t really care about this stuff. It’s merely virtue signalling, but at a heavy cost to our girls.”

Organisers apologised for the broken link when alerted to it by Telegraph Sport and said they were unaware of any concerns being raised with them about their adoption of the FA’s trans policy.

The venue for next month’s competition, Gunnersbury Park Sports Hub, contains communal changing and shower facilities and Telegraph Sport has been told it will be left to team managers to supervise players using such facilities.

FA guidance on such matters states: “Gender-specific changing options should be available. Considering the best changing options for transgender and non-binary players (whether children or adults) should be done on a case-by-case basis, taking their preferences and the needs of all players into account.”

Telegraph Sport has been told this is currently under review – as part of a wider update to the FA’s trans policy – in light of Government guidance for schools on gender questioning children, which states: “It’s important that single-sex spaces such as toilets, showers and changing rooms, remain single-sex, and schools should continue to ensure children aged 11 or older should not be made to get changed or wash in front of children of the opposite sex.”

FA rules have long allowed boys and girls to play in the same match, with restrictions on them doing so having been relaxed in the past decade to help grow the women’s game.

Mixed games used to be banned above under-15 level but they are now permitted right up to under-18 fixtures.

Trans women, meanwhile, must undergo hormone therapy or a gonadectomy to play in adult women’s football.

The Government has told the FA to follow other sports by banning trans women from women’s football amid mounting concerns worldwide about safety and fairness when it comes to those born male taking part.