Written by Oliver Kellner-Dunk
The controversy around transgender athletes participating in sports has been one of the biggest debates in the industry over the past decade.
In recent years the rise of women’s sports and its quality has been a much-needed and welcomed part of society but with it has come the question of whether or not transgender women should be allowed to compete.
Different codes across the globe have had their say by either formally including or excluding transgender athletes from their sport and the NRL is set to make its decision on the matter.
According to a report from The Courier Mail’s David Riccio the NRL will reveal their transgender policy ahead of the 2023 NRLW season in June.
Riccio also spoke to a former Rugby League legend who wished to remain anonymous and gave their thoughts on the situation.
“It will be next to face this decision and it will have huge ramifications for the women’s game,” said the ex-player.
“I would say it’s the most critical decision the game has faced in years.
“All the work done to get the women’s game to where it is now, the NRL have a huge call to make.”
This isn’t the first time that Rugby League and the transgender community have crossed paths though as the International Rugby League decided to exclude transgender athletes from participating in International games ahead of the Rugby League World Cup.
A statement was then put out by the IRL explaining why they had come to this decision.
“In the interests of avoiding unnecessary welfare, legal and reputational risk to International Rugby League competitions, and those competing therein, the IRL believes there is a requirement and responsibility to further consult and complete additional research before finalising its policy,” the IRL said.
The major Rugby League governing bodies generally maintain quite a similar set of rules and that rings true here then in June the NRL will likely exclude transgender athletes from partaking in the NRLW and NRL men’s competitions until further notice.
Due to a pay dispute between the NRL and RLPA the 2023 NRLW draw is yet to be announced but following the recent announcement concerning the NRLW’s salary cap we can expect a draw reveal soon.
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