The International Cricket Council recently made a significant ruling regarding transgender participation in elite women’s cricket.
This decision was reached after extensive scientific review and a nine-month consultation. It aims to “protect the integrity of the international women’s game and the safety of players.”
Several sports bodies, including rugby union, swimming, cycling, athletics, and rugby league, have undertaken similar measures in recent years. These decisions were predominantly driven by concerns surrounding fairness and safety in competitive sports.
ICC chief executive Geoff Allardice emphasized that the regulation changes were the outcome of a comprehensive consultation process grounded in scientific principles.
He explained: “The changes to the gender eligibility regulations resulted from an extensive consultation process and is founded in science and aligned with the core principles developed during the review.”
“Inclusivity is incredibly important to us as a sport, but our priority was to protect the integrity of the international women’s game and the safety of players.”
This policy shift arrives shortly after Danielle McGahey’s participation as the first transgender cricketer in an official international match for Canada. The opening batter participated in all six of Canada’s games in the Women’s T20 World Cup Americas area qualifiers in Los Angeles. This is on top of her prior outings for the national team in games without official ICC status.
Despite meeting the ICC’s previous eligibility criteria based on testosterone levels, McGahey’s participation triggered a reevaluation of regulations.
The ICC said that the following values will guide its new regulations, in order of importance: “protection of the integrity of the women’s game, safety, fairness and inclusion.”
It further stated: “This means any male to female participants who have been through any form of male puberty will not be eligible to participate in the international women’s game regardless of any surgery or gender reassignment treatment they may have undertaken.”
The updated policy was spearheaded by the ICC medical advisory committee under Dr. Peter Harcourt’s leadership. It specifically applies to international women’s cricket. Notably, individual countries retain the autonomy to formulate their policies for domestic games.
The England and Wales Cricket Board announced a review of its transgender policy in light of the new ICC regulations. A spokesperson for ECB said: “We continue to review our transgender policy, considering inclusivity, safety and fairness, and will consider these new ICC regulations as part of this work.”