- Written by Stefan Schimmelt and Timothy Abraham
- BBC Sports
Transgender women have been banned from playing in women’s international matches under new regulations from the International Cricket Council.
Any player who has reached puberty will not be eligible to participate in women’s international matches regardless of any surgery or treatment undertaken.
In September, Canadian Danielle McGahey became the first transgender female cricketer to play an official international match.
The ICC said the new regulations would be reviewed within two years.
After a nine-month consultation process, FIFA said its new policy, which takes effect immediately, is based on “protecting the integrity of women’s football, safety, fairness and inclusion.”
“The changes to the gender eligibility regulations resulted from a wide-ranging consultation process and are scientifically based and consistent with the core principles developed during the review,” ICC Chief Executive Geoff Allardyce said.
“Inclusivity is very important to us as a sport, but our priority was to protect the integrity of the women’s international game and the safety of players.”
McGahey played six T20 international matches in the ICC T20 World Cup qualifying tournament in Los Angeles, where she made 118 runs in six innings at an average of 19.66.
Her highest score was a 45-ball 48 against Brazil.
She received news of her ban from an ICC lawyer on November 14, and expressed her disappointment at the decision that followed the announcement.
“I’ve now read the new policy but the ICC informed me last week and told me what was about to happen. So I’ve been kept up to date with all the things,” McGhae told BBC Sport.
“I don’t have much to say at the moment but it’s a difficult decision to make. Obviously processing this decision has been difficult as it marks the end of my international cricket career.
“It’s obviously incredibly disappointing when I think about the implications this has for young trans women around the world.
“I hope it doesn’t stop anyone from following their dreams. Trans women belong in sports, they belong in cricket.”
The Women’s Rights Network (WRN) has praised the ICC’s decision to ban McGhay and other transgender cricketers from the women’s game.
“This is an important decision and we welcome it but wonder why it has taken so long,” WRN spokeswoman Jane Sullivan said.
“It is important to note that this does not mean that these transgender players are banned from playing cricket completely. They are still free to play in men’s teams or even mixed teams.”
Gender eligibility in domestic cricket will remain a matter for individual boards.
Currently, under the guidance of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), all trans women wishing to take part in female-only elite level competitions must apply for written permission. The evidence is then reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
An ECB spokesperson said: “We continue to review our transgender policy, taking into account inclusivity, safety and fairness, and will consider these new ICC regulations as part of this work.”
In June 2022, FINA voted to ban transgender athletes from competing in elite women’s races if they have gone through any part of the male puberty process.
Former British swimmer Sharon Davies, who opposed transgender participation in elite women’s swimming, told BBC Sport she was “really proud of us”.
In July 2022, the Rugby Football League and the Rugby Football Union banned transgender women from competing in women-only forms of their game.