ECB’s transgender review could result in more medical-driven policy

The England and Wales Cricket Board is reviewing its transgender policy before its £20m semi-professional women’s competition starts next year.

Under ECB rules the eligibility of players in women’s domestic cricket is determined by a player’s own self-identified gender, with no medical requirement for those who have transitioned from male to female to lower their testosterone levels.

However, Claire Connor, the managing director of women’s cricket, hinted that the policy could be tweaked at the elite level so that any trans woman playing in the ECB’s new eight-team competition would have to bring her testosterone down in line with International Olympic Committee guidelines.

“The ECB’s currently isn’t a medically driven policy. It’s a more socially inclusive policy and we will be reviewing that over the coming months,” said Connor, who hinted one option could be to mirror Cricket Australia’s transgender policy which has different rules for elite and grassroots players.

Under that policy, announced last week, Australian cricket’s governing body allows male-to-female players to compete in the female-elite category as long as their testosterone levels have been below 10 nanomoles a litre for at least a year – in line with the IOC guidelines – while permitting cricketers at the community level to self-identify their gender.

“We are reviewing our policy,” said Connor. “Cricket Australia released its last week and it is pretty much in line with the International Cricket Council’s policy, which is a medically driven policy. Cricket Australia has a specific policy for elite cricketers and a different policy for community cricketers. At the moment we don’t and I think we will be looking at that.”

The ECB later said it reviewed all its policies on an annual basis. “Our position on transgender participation will be reviewed as part of our ongoing commitment to regularly review all governance policies,” a spokesperson added. “In our current policy, the eligibility of players is based on one’s own self-identified gender, with no medical requirement. We are unlikely to make any unilateral changes to this stance. We are proud that this model promotes an inclusive environment for all participants in domestic and recreational cricket.”

Connor also confirmed that meetings are being held this week to work out the final details of the elite women’s competitions, which will double the number of professionals from 22 to closer to 50. “What I can guarantee is we will have a very highly competitive best-versus-best domestic structure at 50-over and T20 level,” she added.

“We will also be creating the opportunity for at least double the number of full-time professionals over the next few years.”

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