Athlete Ally Responds to Discriminatory Welsh Rugby Ban

September 15, 2022 — Athlete Ally responded today to news that the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) has banned transgender women from playing in the women’s league, even though there are currently no out transgender women playing in professional Welsh rugby. This contradicts WRU’s previous, long-held policies which allowed trans women to participate under certain guidelines, and it follows similar bans from International Rugby League (IRL), England Rugby (RFU) and Irish Rugby (IRFU) earlier this year.

“We are saddened to hear of this ban and would strongly encourage the WRU to review their policy as new evidence and insights become available,” said the Cardiff Lions, Wales’ first gay and inclusive rugby union team, in a statement. “We believe that rugby should be accessible to all, regardless of gender and believe this decision represents a step backwards.”

“WRU’s ban is discriminatory, harmful and attempts to solve a problem that doesn’t exist,” said Joanna Hoffman, Director of Communications at Athlete Ally. “We know what the real, documented threats to women’s sports are: unequal pay, sexual abuse and harassment, lack of women in leadership, and a lack of investment in women’s sports. Transgender women are nowhere on that list.

Banning transgender women from Welsh Rugby does nothing to protect women’s sports, and also goes against inclusive guidelines at the highest level of sports which affirm that transgender athletes have no inherent advantage. We call on the WRU to reverse this needless, harmful ban and instead support the values of inclusivity and fairness that make rugby great.”