A day after FINA—the international governing body for water sports—adopted a new “gender inclusion policy” that restricted participation by transgender athletes in women’s events, FIFA will reportedly review its own transgender policy, according to Simon Evans of Reuters.
FINA’s new policy only permits swimmers who transitioned before age 12 to compete in women’s events. The organization also proposed an “open competition category,” which FINA said it would be setting up “a new working group that will spend the next six months looking at the most effective ways to set up this new category.”
It’s unclear whether FIFA is considering adopting a similar “open competition” division.
“FIFA is currently reviewing its gender eligibility regulations in consultation with expert stakeholders,” a spokesperson told Reuters. “Due to the ongoing nature of the process, FIFA is not in a position to comment on specifics of proposed amendments to the existing regulations.”
FIFA is basing its decision on guidance from various medical, legal, scientific, performance and human rights experts, as well as the position of the International Olympic Committee.
On Monday, former U.S. women’s national team star Megan Rapinoe said she was “100% supportive of trans inclusion” in an interview with Time, saying she remains particularly concerned with transgender youth.
“We’re talking about kids,” Rapinoe said. “We’re talking about people’s lives. We’re talking about the entire state government coming down on one child in some states, three children in some states. They are committing suicide, because they are being told that they’re gross and different and evil and sinful and they can’t play sports with their friends that they grew up with. Not to mention trying to take away health care. I think it’s monstrous.”
Last year, the IOC published advice for individual sports’ governing bodies on creating eligibility rules for transgender athletes, shifting emphasis away from testosterone levels and calling for evidence to prove when a performance advantage existed. The IOC wrote on the matter that no athlete should be excluded from competing based on an “unverified, alleged or perceived unfair competitive advantage due to their sex variations, physical appearance and/or transgender status.”