13th April 2023
With less than 100 days until the Women’s World Cup gets underway in Australia and New Zealand, many supporters of women’s sport are anxious.
For Australians and New Zealanders this will be the largest women’s sporting event to ever hit our shores.
But will our female players have a safe, fair, and level playing field when they take the pitch in July, given FIFA still allow trans identifying male players to compete in the gender they identify with, on a case-by-case basis. It is disappointing that no clear policy is yet in place despite their review being underway since June last year, and other sports such as World Athletics and World Aquatic’s having already made the move to protect the female category.
In Australia males are already being granted entry to play in the women’s football competition “as women” merely by a self-declared “gender identity” due to Football Australia’s flawed inclusion policies. This has resulted in injuries for female players that we are aware of in the Football NSW fixture alone, due to the obvious male performance advantage and accompanying injury risk.
There is a growing body of science to demonstrate what we already know - that males have athletic advantage due to their biology, and this performance advantage is not mitigated by testosterone suppression.
Save Women’s Sports Australasia, along with our supporters across the globe, are calling on FIFA Women’s World Cup organisers to provide an assurance that males will not be permitted to play “as women” in the upcoming competition. This is to ensure fairness for our female athletes and to safeguard them from a heightened risk of injury. Female football players also deserve access to female-only changing facilities for their privacy and dignity.
As World Athletics President Seb Coe stated earlier this year: “We can’t have a generation of young girls thinking there is not a future for them in the sport. So we have a responsibility … maintaining the primacy and the integrity of female competition is absolutely vital.”
It is our hope that FIFA shows their female athletes, and young aspiring female footballers, the same respect.
Ro Edge & Nerissa Scott
NZ & Australian Spokeswomen
Save Women's Sport Australasia
Image by Buda Mendes - FIFA via Getty Images
April 13th 2023 - Open Letter to FIFA, and The FIFA Women's World Cup 2023 Organisers