England's Rugby Football Union (RFU), the governing body of the union code in England, have banned transgender women from competing in female-only forms of their games. The policy states that it will "only permit players in the female category if the sex originally recorded at birth is female".
A new policy for the 2022-23 season was passed, with "33 in favour, 26 against and two abstaining". The RFU’s new policy applies to rugby union from under-12s and above.
At present there are currently six transgender women playing senior rugby union.
The RFU stated it began a review of its existing policy in 2020 with a survey that got over 11,000 responses. It held extensive consultation, studied scientific evidence and sought guidance from other sporting bodies before voting on the policy amid safety and fairness concerns, with 33 in favour, 26 against and two abstaining.
The RFU’s policy follows World Rugby's stance - which in 2020 became the first international sports federation to declare transgender women would not be allowed compete at elite and international level of the women's game.
Last month, swimming's world governing body Fina voted to prohibit transgender athletes from competing in women's elite races if they have gone through any part of the process of male puberty. World Athletics and soccer's world governing body FIFA are among a number of sports federations reviewing their guidelines on the involvement of transgender athletes
Transgender rugby player Alix Fitzgerald says she feels sad that she could be excluded from playing rugby after the RFU Council vote on the issue. pic.twitter.com/bhVZ3pQO5J
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) July 28, 2022