Scottish Rugby will ban transgender women from competing in contact versions of the women’s game from 1 February. The ruling will see the playing population of trans people in Scotland – estimated to be fewer than 10 – being able to continue to play rugby, but only in non-contact forms.
In a statement, Scottish Rugby said: “This amended policy now aligns with the already published positions of other rugby union governing bodies in the UK and Ireland which follow guidance from World Rugby and the Sports Councils’ Equality Group (SCEG).”
The updated policy means contact rugby for players in the women’s category is limited to those whose sex was recorded as female at birth. The policy does not apply to non-contact forms of the game, such as Tartan Touch.
Previously, transgender women could participate in the women’s game in Scotland depending on the outcome of a thorough medical process including testosterone tests prior to registration to play.
Transgender men may continue to play contact rugby in the men’s category provided a risk assessment has been undertaken by the club in which the player is registered, and the outcome logged with Scottish Rugby.
Scottish Rugby said the policy will be reviewed on an annual basis and in light of any new scientific data and research becoming available in the future.
The statement reads: “We all have a responsibility to look after the participants in our game, with their wellbeing and safety at the centre of everything we do. Scottish Rugby’s aim is that everyone who is involved with our sport has a positive experience and goes on to achieve their full potential both within the game and in life.
“We fully acknowledge this is a difficult and sadly divisive societal issue, and that has been especially apparent over the last few months. Scottish Rugby has been mindful of this and aimed to deal with the issue in a sensitive manner.
“This update to the policy takes effect as Scottish Rugby’s club members begin preparations for the women’s Cup competition, and therefore require the latest information on player eligibility criteria.
“Inclusion is a bedrock of our sport. Scottish Rugby wishes to be as inclusive as possible and is only imposing such eligibility restrictions based on the guidance provided. The decision to amend our eligibility criteria was not taken lightly as we seek to address conflicting viewpoints.”