Written by Oliver Kellner-Dunk
At the end of this year the men’s, women’s and wheelchair Rugby League World Cups will take place as it is finally once again time to see which nation is the best in the world following the respective tournaments.
The three competitions will be taking place across England where Rugby League first became a stand-alone sport back in the 1800s.
It will be the 16th edition of the tournament overall with a total of 20 nations taking part across the men’s, women’s and wheelchair formats.
With the World Cup just a little under four months away the International Rugby League has decided to ban transgender athletes from the tournament following the Federation Internationale de Natation’s decision to ban transgender athletes from International swimming events.
The IRL has put out an official statement regarding the matter.
“The IRL is continuing work to review and update rules about transgender participation in women’s international rugby league and will seek to use the upcoming World Cup to help develop a comprehensive inclusion policy,” the IRL stated.
🌍 How good was it to have international rugby league back this weekend?
— Rugby League World Cup 2021 (@RLWC2021) June 20, 2022
“Until further research is completed to enable the IRL to implement a formal transgender inclusion policy, male-to-female (transwomen) players are unable to play in sanctioned women’s international rugby league matches.
“In reaching this position, the IRL, which last reviewed transgender participation in international rugby league in January-February 2021, considered several relevant developments in world sport.
“The IRL reaffirms its belief that rugby league is a game for all and that anyone and everyone can play our sport.
“The IRL will continue to work towards developing a set of criteria, based on best possible evidence, which fairly balances the individual’s right to play with the safety of all participants.”
It has also been confirmed that the IRL’s decision to ban transgender athletes from participating in International matches includes this week’s massive round of International Rugby League which sees Lebanon take on Malta tomorrow before a quadruple-header on Saturday where New Zealand faces Tonga in both a women’s and men’s game at Mt Smart Stadium before Samoa versus the Cook Islands and Fiji versus Papua New Guinea at Campbelltown Sports Stadium.